WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2013 — Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin says he will not seek re-election in 2014, according to the Associated Press, which first broke the story.

“I have been thinking hard about the decision whether to run for a sixth term in the United States Senate for a number of months - even more these last few weeks,” Harkin said in a statement obtained by Agri-Pulse

Sen. Harkin and wife Ruth at Ag Prom

“I’ve reached a decision, and what I’ve decided really boils down to two things,” said Harkin.  “First, I’m going to fulfill a promise that I made to my wife Ruth, and that I also made to myself.  It's a promise that we’re going to do certain things together - and that we’re going to live together in a way we’ve often talked about - before it gets too late.  That’s a decision I believe many Iowans can relate to, either because of their own circumstances, or perhaps those of their parents. 

“Second, I'm 73 years old right now.  At the end of this term I’ll be 75.  When the current Congress is over, I will have served in the United States House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate for a total of 40 years.  After 40 years, I just feel it’s somebody else’s turn.  I can’t put into words what an honor it is to serve Iowa.  And I don’t by any means plan to retire completely from public life at the end of this Congress.  But I am going to make way for someone new in this Senate seat.  I think that is right not just for me, but for Iowa, as well.”

Harkin’s announcement makes him the second Democrat and third U.S. Senator up for re-election in this cycle who have decided not to run. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., have also announced they will not seek another term.

Harkin’s decision leaves the race wide open for candidates from both parties.

On the Democratic side, Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) is expected to be a front-runner, but Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who served as Iowa Governor from 1999-2007, could be another likely candidate.

On the GOP side, several names are already being floated as possibilities, including Rep. Tom Latham, Rep. Steve King, and Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey.


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