First Steve Bullock, now Ryan Zinke?
A polling firm has been calling Republican voters in Iowa to test the name recognition of Zinke, the current Department of Interior secretary and former Montana congressman, according to an opinion columnist writing in the Des Moines Register.
Iowans, who take pride in their first-caucus-in-the-nation status, will also get a look at Bullock, Montana’s governor when he visits Friday to stump for Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller in his re-election campaign. Bullock has been named as a dark horse Democratic candidate to challenge Republican President Donald Trump in 2020.
According to columnist Steve Sherman, former GOP U.S. House candidate, pollster Gravis Marketing was testing the waters on Zinke for a possible 2024 run as a potential successor to Trump, should he be re-elected in two years.
Sherman also notes that "many pitfalls" are ahead of candidates looking that far ahead, but presidential campaigns require advance planning. An Interior spokesman said Zinke was not involved in putting out the poll and he is "very happy to serve President Trump and Vice President Pence."
Zinke was easily re-elected in 2016 to his second term in Congress before accepting the Interior spot a year later. Before that appointment, he had been considered a top Republican choice to challenge incumbent Democrat Jon Tester, who is facing re-election to the U.S. Senate from Montana this year.