DES MOINES — U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, will not seek the Republican nomination for retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin’s seat.
In an e-mail to supporters Friday night, King, who represents the 4th district, wrote that he did his “due diligence ... from a statewide, objective perspective” and determined he needed to stay in Congress.
His e-mail explains in illustrative language why he chose not to run for the first open Senate seat in Iowa in decades.
“This week, I made a simple device to put toothpaste back in the tube. But a device to put the Leftist genie back in the bottle is not so simple. The best tool we have now is the majority in the U.S. House which functions mostly to keep the Leftist genie in the bottle” King wrote.
“I cannot, in good conscience, turn my back on the destiny decisions of Congress today in order to direct all my efforts to a Senate race for next year, while hoping to gain the leverage to put the genie back in the bottle in 2015.”
King’s announcement came a day after Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey announced he would not seek the nomination and a week after Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds announced her intention not to run.
The three were seen as early frontrunners to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley for the seat. Braley, who represents the 1st District, announced his intention to run within days of Harkin’s retirement announcement.
Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Latham, who represents the 3rd district, announced months ago that he would not seek the nomination.
Among the remaining potential GOP candidates are Sen. Joni Ernst of Red Oak, Secretary of State Matt Schultz, Sen. Chuck Grassley’s chief of staff, David Young, former Reliant Energy CEO Mark Jacobs and former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker.
Below is the email he sent supporters:
My analytical part, the head, tells me the race is winnable and must be won in 2014 or a generational opportunity could be lost. I have said a race for the Senate is "a slight up hill battle". It is, but it's "no hill for a climber".
The question I am answering today is, "What is my duty?" I believe my duty is to utilize the honor of serving Iowans in Congress by maximizing my effectiveness. I owe it to all Iowans and Americans to give you my best effort and best judgment.
We have in front of us in Congress a series of potent issues which will redirect the destiny of our state and nation. Among them are a farm bill, ObamaCare, debt and deficit, immigration, and tax reform. If I step away from these responsibilities while campaigning in an effort to multiply leverage in the Senate, what becomes of our nation in the mean time?
This week, I made a simple device to put toothpaste back in the tube. But a device to put the Leftist genie back in the bottle is not so simple. The best tool we have now is the majority in the U.S. House which functions mostly to keep the Leftist genie in the bottle. I cannot, in good conscience, turn my back on the destiny decisions of Congress today in order to direct all my efforts to a Senate race for next year, while hoping to gain the leverage to put the genie back in the bottle in 2015.
The most timely and conclusive piece of advice I received crystallized my decision. A friend, whose 77th birthday is today, said to me, "I will support you whatever you decide to do. If you decide to run, don't be a reluctant candidate." If I said, "Yes" to a Senate race, I would be a reluctant candidate because of the reasons I've written above.
Accordingly, I will not be a candidate for the United States Senate in 2014. It is my intention to turn my efforts and energy with great vigor to the issues at hand. I anticipate being on the ballot for reelection to the U.S. House, Fourth District of Iowa. It is a challenging and rewarding job that I enjoy. My sincerest thanks to all involved.