Mark JacobsAmericans for Prosperity-Iowa just announced the date for what will be the first debate among Iowa Republican Senate hopefuls.  Five candidates vying for the nomination will be present minus one.  Former Reliant Energy CEO Mark Jacobs declined.  He has formed an exploratory committee, but has not formally declared himself as a candidate.

The difference is not lost on me, but considering Jacobs has been traveling the state and sending out mailers having a presence in a debate he was invited to makes sense.  He runs the risk of communicating to the base that he’s above the process.  Iowa Republicans need the opportunity to see some daylight in between candidates and to further get to know each candidate’s position.

So far what we’ve seen from Jacobs has been his biography.  While a candidate’s background is certainly important it alone does not sway voters.  Republican activists want to know where he stands on issues.

Most of what is known about him is really a mixed bag.  With a debate that is focused on fiscal issues and health care he could stand out, but only if he participates.

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