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Iowa GOP facing a potentially messy primary for U.S. Senate in 2014

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May 25, 2013

U.S. Senator Tom Harkin

By Greg Janetka

DES MOINES, Iowa: According to a poll released yesterday by Quinnipiac University, the 2014 race to replace retiring U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D) is anybody's game. While Democrats quickly rallied around Congressman Bruce Braley, the Republican field is still wide open as those once considered to be frontrunners - namely Congressmen Steve King and Tom Latham - declined to run. As a summary of the poll stated, the race “at this point features a bunch of candidates who are unknown to most Iowa voters.”[1] Let's take a look at some of the potential Republican candidates.

  • Matt Whitaker - A former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa from 2004 to 2009, Whitaker is expected to formally announce his candidacy on June 3.[2] He said he would only vote for constitutional legislation, comparing his beliefs to those of Senator Rand Paul.[3]
  • Joni Ernst - A state senator since 2011, Ernst said she is still considering a run but a prolonged legislative session has not given her the time to make a decision. She is planning a fact finding trip to D.C. in order to "find out more on what it takes to run a senate campaign, and whether I'm the right fit."[2]
  • Matt Schultz - Current Iowa Secretary of State, Schultz spent two days in D.C. earlier this month. Refusing to set a timetable or say who he was meeting with, Schultz stated, “You just don't make a decision to run for Senate in one day...So I'm out here, meeting with people who have done it.”[4]
  • David Young - Chief of Staff to Sen. Chuck Grassley, Young has submitted his resignation and will reportedly officially enter the race next month. Sara Taylor Fagen, former Director of the White House Office of Political Affairs and Deputy Assistant to President George W. Bush, has signed on as his general consultant.[5]
  • A.J. Spiker - Chairman of the Iowa Republican Party[6]
  • Sam Clovis - Host of the conservative radio show “Impact With Sam Clovis” on KSCJ-AM, he announced this week that he was considering throwing his name into the race. Clovis, also a Morningside College economics professor, said he believes voters "are ready for a red-meat conservative.”[7]
  • Mark Jacobs - A former oil executive, Jacobs currently heads an education nonprofit. He has said he would consider running for the seat but has set no timeframe for making a decision.[8]

See also

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References