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Biography Tom Latham

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Tom Latham Tom Latham
Tom Latham
U.S. Representative for Iowa, serving in Congress since 1995 - member of the Republican Party.


Tom Latham Biography

ENG: Thomas Paul "Tom" Latham (born July 14, 1948) is the U.S. Representative for Iowa's 3rd congressional district, serving in Congress since 1995. He is a member of the Republican Party.


Early life, education and career

Latham was born in Alexander, Iowa, south of Mason City, the son of Evelyn R. (née Johansen) and Willard Chester Latham. His father was of English and Danish descent and his mother was of Danish ancestry. He was raised on a farm in Alexander, near Hampton. He was educated at Iowa State University, and was a business owner before entering the House. He and his brothers ran a family seed company called Latham Seeds, which Latham has sold his interest in.


Political campaigns

Latham was elected as the congressman for Iowa's 5th congressional district in 1994 as part of the wave that allowed Republicans to take over the House for the first time since 1955. The 5th, based in western Iowa, was far and away the most Republican district in the state, and Latham never faced a serious challenge as the 5th District's congressman. In 1994 he defeated Democrat Sheila McGuire garnering 61 percent of the vote. In 1996 he won 65 percent of the vote in defeating Democrat MacDonald Smith, and he ran unopposed in the 1998 election.

The 2000 round of redistricting, however, significantly altered Iowa's congressional map. Latham's home in Alexander, along with most of the eastern third of his old district, was placed in the new 4th District in the north-central part of the state. This district is considered much more competitive than Latham's old district; with a Cook Partisan Voting Index of D+0.4, on paper it is one of the most marginal districts in the nation. However, he has been reelected four times from this district without much difficulty. This may be because he is the only Iowan on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. It is considered very difficult to unseat an Appropriations Committee member.

In the 2006 election, neither the Republican nor Democratic parties had a contested primary. His opponent in the 2006 general election was Selden Spencer, a neurologist from Huxley. Latham, who had moved to Ames, closer to the center of the district, earned 57.3% of the vote as he won reelection.

In the 2008 election Latham won against Democratic nominee Becky Greenwald with 61 percent of the vote even as Barack Obama carried the district by eight points.

In 2010, Latham won against Democratic nominee Bill Maske, a school administrator.

Iowa lost a district as a result of the 2010 census. The new congressional map placed Latham and fellow Republican Steve King into the same district. While it retained Latham's district number, it contains more of King's old territory. Indeed, it closely resembled the territory Latham represented for his first four terms. Latham opted to move to the reconfigured 3rd and defeated Democratic incumbent Leonard Boswell in the 2012 election.





February 13, 2013

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