JOHNSTON | Saying he’s in the business of unifying the Republican Party, tea party favorite Rep. Steve dismissed rumors that he’s recruiting a challenger to fellow Republican Rep. Tom Latham.

Although Latham, who voted to end the recent 16-day partial federal government shutdown, has incurred the wrath of tea party conservatives, King said he and his 3rd District colleague “carry a similar philosophy.”

“He has his reasons for making his decision and I have mine for making mine,” King said during the taping of Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press that will be broadcast at noon Sunday.

Conservatives, King added, should want Latham, who chairs an appropriations subcommittee and is a personal friend of Speaker John Boehner, “to be effective and his influence within the leadership circle in the House.”

No Latham challenger has stepped forward and replacing the 10-term congressman should not be a priority, King said.

“When you look at his voting record down the line, it has been a solid conservative record,” King said. “And there are many places we can go to improve the results of the House of Representatives without going to Tom Latham.”

King’s also “disregarding” rumors that he’ll be the target of a primary election challenge in Iowa’s 4th District from a more business-friendly Republican.

“I think my antennae are pretty good and we can’t find a wisp of smoke of such a thing,” the six-term representative said. That rumor “just gets churned around the media.”

King, who has been traveling the country with a decidedly tea party message of constitutional conservative principles, doesn’t want to see the Republican Party marginalized by pushing away either the newly energized libertarians or the so-called establishment wing of the party, which drives the economic agenda of the party and is responsible for much of its fundraising.

He hears from Republicans in both camps who want him to focus exclusively on their priorities.

“I say to them, ‘Is there anything you stand for that we disagree on?’” King said. “If you get everything you want, why do you insist, why do you object to getting more than you want?”

Iowa Press also can be seen at 8:30 a.m. Saturday on IPTV World and at beginning tonight.

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