Tom Harkin Announces He Won’t Seek Re-Election In 2014
The mid-term elections are still more than a year and a half away, with Tom Harkin of Iowa becoming the fourth Senator to make that announcement in just a month:
Democratic Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin announced Saturday he will not seek re-election in 2014, giving Republicans a shot at picking up his seat.
“It’ll be wide-open as far as both parties,” Republican state chairman A.J. Spiker said. “Iowa is so purple. It’s just a really purple state. Our nominee will be well positioned.”
Democratic leaders had been unsure of the five-term senator’s intentions on running again.
There had been widespread belief last year that he would retire, but the Democrats’ strong showing on Election Day – when they picked up two seats when many experts thought they could lose their Senate majority – gave party leaders hope that Harkin, 73, would seek another term.\
Iowa insiders expect Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley to seek the nomination. They expect he will initially be the frontrunner, but other challengers could emerge.
Attention on the Republican side will turn to incumbent congressmen Tom Latham and Steve King, both of whom survived tough challenges last November after redistricting. Other potential GOP candidates who might consider running include Iowa State Sen. Brad Zaun, Secretary of State Matt Schultz, Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey, social conservative activist Bob Vander Plaats, Republican Party of Iowa co-chair David Fischer and state GOP finance chairman Drew Ivers (a co-chair of Ron Paul’s 2012 campaign in Iowa).
Republican Gov. Terry Branstad will be at the top of the ticket. He has already been raising money for his 2014 reelection bid. The GOP nominee will also have the help of conservative Sen. Chuck Grassley.
Harkin joins Saxby Chambliss, Jay Rockefeller, and Jim DeMint on the list of incumbents who will not be running for re-election in 2014. Other names, such as New Jersey’s Frank Lautenberg, are likely to join the list over the coming months.