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GOP Prospects Rebuff Run for Iowa Senate Seat

Image: GOP Prospects Rebuff Run for Iowa Senate Seat From left: Iowa Republican Rep. Tom Latham; Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley and Republican Rep. Steve King.

By Matthew Auerbach   |   Thursday, 02 May 2013 11:51 PM

Many of the GOP’s top prospects are passing on the opportunity to run for the Iowa Senate seat that will be up for grabs in 2014, Politico reports.

Next year’s Senate race is seen as a golden opportunity for Republicans to win the seat since Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin announced in January he was retiring.

On Thursday, State Agriculture Commissioner Bill Northey announced he would sit the race out, believing he can better serve the state in his current position.

Northey’s announcement comes days after Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds made clear she had no interest in running.

Northey and Reynolds join Rep. Tom Latham as three top candidates who have all chosen not to run against Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley, the all-but-certain Democratic nominee.

The only remaining high-profile prospect who hasn’t pulled the plug on a run is Rep. Steve King.

Iowa Republicans see a perfect storm of factors as the reasons some of their most promising potential candidates have shied away from running for the Senate.

They cite the fact that Harkin’s announcement was fairly unexpected; the short amount of time possible candidates are given by the media and supporters to make a decision; and a general desire to stay in their current positions or pursue other opportunities down the line.

“If you’re Tom Latham, I think you say, ‘I just got elected to a new district, defeated a sitting congressman, and it’s not a natural move to turn around and say, ‘Well, now I’m a U.S. Senate candidate,’” said Craig Robinson, a former Iowa GOP political director who edits The Iowa Republican.

In regard to Reynolds and Northey, Nick Ryan, who heads the American Future Fund, said both of them “seemed more comfortable in state office” and may be considering possible gubernatorial runs in the future.

Ryan believes Harkin’s decision to not seek another term took the possible candidates totally by surprise.

“The Harkin announcement … caught Republicans completely off guard and they weren’t prepared for it,” Ryan said.

“That’s why these decisions by some of these bigger name candidates — they’re happening because they weren’t prepared for it, mentally or even just organizationally. They hadn’t done the groundwork.”

King, who would most likely clear the field if he gets in, has admitted that he’s still making up his mind.

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