Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz has become the latest high profile Republican to decline the chance to run for the U.S. Senate next year. Schultz, in a tweet this morning, said that he’ll run for re-election in 2014 instead.
“I am humbled by all of the encouragement to run for Senate, but I love serving Iowans as Secretary of State… I intend to run for SOS,” Schultz tweeted.
Schultz joins U.S. Reps. Tom Latham and Steve King, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey in passing up the chance to run for the seat being vacated next year by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.
With Iowa considered a perennial swing state and the next election a midterm, the unexpected vacancy initially created a lot of speculation there would be a high profile battle between Rep. Bruce Braley — the Waterloo Democrat who almost immediately after Harkin’s announcement said he was interested in the job — and a top Republican. But as one after another on the Republican side has passed on the race, that has left the party with potential candidates who have less name recognition.
Still, the election is more than a year away. And a recent poll suggests even Braley has work to do to boost his name recognition. But Schultz’s and the others’ decision not to run seems likely to mean a potentially divisive Republican primary. Former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker has said he will announce his candidacy formally next week. Also, the chief of staff to Sen. Chuck Grassley, David Young, has reportedly resigned his position in order to run for the post, and state Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Red Oak, also is considering a bid.
Schultz, who was first elected in 2010, has focused on urging greater ballot security measures, warning of the potential for fraud. Critics say Schultz is merely trying to suppress the vote. Brad Anderson, who ran President Obama’s Iowa reelection operation last year, has already said he will seek the Democratic Party’s nomination to challenge Schultz.