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Tom Latham

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 4th district
Assumed office 
January 3, 1995
Preceded by Greg Ganske

Born July 14, 1948 (1948-07-14) (age 61)
Hampton, Iowa
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Kathy Latham
Residence Alexander, Iowa (1995-2007)
Ames, Iowa (2007-present)
Alma mater Iowa State University
Occupation small business owner
Religion Lutheran

Thomas "Tom" Latham (born July 14, 1948)[1], American politician, has been a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives since 1995, representing Iowa's 4th congressional district (map).


Early life

Latham was born in Hampton, Iowa, south of Mason City, but was raised on a farm in nearby Alexander.[2][1] He was educated at Iowa State University, and was a business owner before entering the House. He and his brothers run a family seed company called Latham Seeds.[2]

Election to Congress

Latham was elected as the congressman for Iowa's 5th congressional district in 1994[1] 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, is far and away the most Republican district in the state.[citation needed] It was so heavily Republican that 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.[1]

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.[1] 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 earned 57.3% of the vote as he won reelection.

In the 2008 election Latham was challenged by Democratic candidate Becky Greenwald, however he was reelected with 61 percent of the vote even as Barack Obama carried the district by eight points.

Latham is now serving his eighth term in Congress.

Committee Assignments


Leadership roles and Caucus memberships

  • Dean of Iowa's delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives
  • Task Force for a Drug-Free America
  • Prescription Drug Action Leadership Team
  • Congressional Task Force for Affordable Natural Gas


Latham has made fiscal and military issues the key points of his tenure in Washington. He is considered to be one of the most fiscally conservative members of the House and his voting record has been strongly anti-tax and heavily in favor of cutting spending to social programs.

Latham is a staunch advocate of a federal prohibition of online poker. In 2006, he cosponsored H.R. 4411, the Goodlatte-Leach Internet Gambling Prohibition Act.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Thomas Paul Latham (R)". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  2. ^ a b "Biography". Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  3. ^ Thomas (Library of Congress): HR 4411

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Fred Grandy
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by
Steve King
Preceded by
Greg Ganske
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 4th congressional district

Succeeded by


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