Rep. King Too Busy to Make Decision on 2014 U.S. Senate Bid

By James Lynch, Reporter

Representative Steve King (R-IA) on the steps of the House of Representatives in Washington, DC on Tuesday, April 16, 2013. (Stephen Mally/Freelance)

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By Aaron Hepker

DES MOINES, Iowa - He’s embarrassed he hasn’t decided whether he’ll run for the U.S. Senate in 2014, but Rep. Steve King has been too busy.

“I never thought it would be into May without an answer,” King told reporters Wednesday in Ames. “I just don’t know the answer and I’m embarrassed that I don’t know the answer.”

He’s getting encouragement to run for the seat being vacated by Democrat Sen. Tom Harkin and realizes that while he’s trying to find “a little window where I can address this in a logical fashion,” 1st District Rep. Bruce Braley is unopposed for the Democratic nomination and has raised more than $1 million for the 2014 campaign.

“Things are stacking up on me so fast I hardly have time to deal with the issue” of whether to run, King said after speaking to about 50 people at an event hosted by Americans for Prosperity. There’s the farm bill and “the immigration issue comes at me constantly.”

“I can’t suspend my job representing Iowans,” he explained. “That’s been something that has caused more of a delay than I anticipated.”

Still, the conservative firebrand won’t set a deadline and defends his lengthy deliberation. Harkin announced his retirement Jan. 26 and Braley entered the race Feb. 7.

“This isn’t a toss of a coin,” King said. “It has implications that go well beyond me. It has implications about how Iowans are represented in the U.S. Senate for, probably, a long time to come.”

Those implications include the “destiny of the county (which) is “something that weighs heavily on me,” King said.

He’s grateful for the patience shown by a host of potential Republican senatorial candidates – a list that seems to be growing. Among them are Sen. Joni Ernst of Red Oak, secretaries of State and Agriculture Matt Schultz and Bill Northey, respectively, Sen. Chuck Grassley’s chief of staff, David Young, former Reliant Energy CEO Mark Jacobs and former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker.

Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and 3rd District Rep. Tom Latham have taken themselves out of the race.

“They are giving me some deference here,” King said. “You couldn’t ask for a better scenario. A lot of Republicans want to get the right thing done here in the state.”

The right thing includes giving GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley a like-minded Senate colleague, King said.

“How many times did Tom Harkin cancel out Chuck Grassley’s vote on an important issue,” King asked. “Iowans need to start thinking about that. If you want to see things move … well, you don’t send, as a state, a liberal and a conservative to cancel each other’s vote.

“Iowans don’t need to be voting a stalemate in the United States Senate,” he said. “I hope Chuck Grassley serves a long time there, so I hope we elect a conservative to that U.S. Senate.”

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