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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.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    Steve King. Well, this is Iowa’s chance to show that it can be as nutty as Kansas or Oklahoma..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  2. John Burgess says:

    Only 18 years too late, but we can be grateful for what we get.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  3. Paul L. says:

    @al-Ameda:
    How dare they threaten those who divert from their orthodoxy with political extinction!!!!!

    Giffords and Kelly: Fighting gun violence

    Rather than conducting a dialogue, they threaten those who divert from their orthodoxy with political extinction.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. edmondo says:

    2014 doesn’t look like it’s going to be kind to the Democratic Party

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Vast Variety says:

    Definitely looking forward to being able to vote for someone other than Harkin. Of course if Republicans nominate some nut like Steve King of Bob “gay marriage killed my father” Vander Platts, I’ll be forced to vote for the Democrat even if he is just a dead tree stump.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Dave says:

    Latham winning Boswell’s seat wasn’t that shocking in that Boswell wasn’t a great politician and ran an even worse campaign. It will be refreshing to get some new blood in our senate, since Harkin is the most senior junior senator in these United States.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. An Interested Party says:

    2014 doesn’t look like it’s going to be kind to the Democratic Party

    The same was said about 2012 and, in regard to the Senate, 2010…but as long as Republicans keep voting for loons in their primaries, the Democrats will be just fine…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Attention on the Republican side will turn to incumbent congressmen Tom Latham and Steve King,

    Please, oh please, oh please…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  9. edmondo says:

    @An Interested Party:

    but as long as Republicans keep voting for loons in their primaries, the Democrats will be just fine…

    As long as Obama keeps acting like a Republican, the Democrats will continue to stay home.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. An Interested Party says:

    As long as Obama keeps acting like a Republican, the Democrats will continue to stay home.

    I didn’t realize that Republicans and Independents helped the President to win re-election…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. edmondo says:

    @An Interested Party:

    2008 69.5 million Obama voters

    2012 66.9 million Obama voters

    Looks like a lotta people stayed the fuck home to me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    Our nominee will be well positioned.”

    Translated from Republicanese as “I think there are still enough old angry white men in Iowa to pull this off.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0