Lieutenant Governor Weighs GOP US Senate Bid

By James Lynch, Reporter

Secretary of the convention, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds (IA) delivers remarks as RNC chairman at the second session of the 2012 Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Tuesday, August 28, 2012. (Harry E. Walker/MCT)

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By Aaron Hepker

DES MOINES, Iowa - Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds will take a look at making a bid for the U.S. Senate – when she returns from a trade mission in Vietnam and the Philippines.

“I am focused on this trade mission,” she said during a conference call this morning – 10:30 p.m. Manila time. “We’ll deal with that when we get back.”

Speculation that the Osceola Republican will jump into the open seat race for the Senate in 2014 increased with 3rd District Rep. Tom Latham’s announcement Wednesday that he won’t run for the seat now held by Democrat Sen. Tom Harkin, who announced his retirement.

While not saying much about her plans – she could run for another term if Gov. Terry Branstad seeks a sixth term in 2014 or run to succeed him if he doesn’t, Reynolds kept her options open.

“I’ll take a serious look at it,” she told reporters. “We’ll continue to do that.

Before she makes a decision, Reynolds said she will talk to 4th District Rep. Steve King, who many consider the leading contender for the GOP nomination with Latham out of the contest.

“He’s a friend,” she said about King, a six-term congressman, who served as her congressman for several years before redistricting in 2011.

“So we’ll take a look at that later, but now concentrating on leading a trade mission,” Reynolds said.

If King decides to run, he may have the nomination to himself. However, Reynolds or other Republicans could make him campaign for it.

If King doesn’t run, political observers see a wide-open race for the GOP nomination to face 1st District Rep. Bruce Braley, a Waterloo Democrat.

Reynolds could have an advantage having run on a statewide ticket and Branstad’s unceasing promotion of her. If he throws his backing, including his campaign finance sources, behind her, Reynolds likely would be favored in a GOP primary, according to some Iowa political observers.

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