The latest Iowa Republican to say "thanks, but no thanks" to a bid for the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin in 2014 is Secretary of State Matt Schultz.
Schultz had been considered one of the Hawkeye State's brightest stars on the right. He won widespread applause from conservatives for his role in supporting voter ID legislation and was state chairman of Rick Santorum's winning campaign in the Iowa 2012 presidential caucuses.
Although it is widely presumed Schultz wants to run for governor in 2018, another reason for his passing on the Senate race could be problems stemming from a recent probe.
State auditors are looking into whether Schultz improperly paid an investigator who worked for the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigations with $280,000 in federal dollars to track down voter fraud.
The federal funds "were meant to educate Iowans about voting procedures, rights, and technology," state Deputy Auditor Warren Jenkins told Iowa Watchdog last week.
So far, the Republican field includes former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker and David Young, former top aide to Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa.
Also eyeing the GOP primary is state Sen. Joni Ernst, an Iraq war veteran and National Guard officer. The certain Democratic nominee is Rep. Bruce Braley.
John Gizzi is special political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax
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