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2014 getting more interesting by the minute — Harkin out

2014 getting more interesting by the minute — Harkin out

This makes things even more interesting — via AP:

Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin says he will not seek re-election in 2014.

The 73-year-old Harkin tells The Associated Press in an interview, “It’s just time to step aside,” because by the time he would finish a sixth term, he would be 81.

Harkin said it would also allow a new generation of Democrats to seek higher office.

The announcement comes as a surprise, considering he had $2.7 million in his campaign war chest and was planning a fundraiser next month.

Harkin played a lead role in urging the Senate’s more liberal members to back the 2010 health care bill.

No Iowa Republicans have taken formal steps toward seeking the seat. Harkin’s decision eases the burden on the GOP, who have to gain six seats to win the majority.

So, what’s the field look like in Iowa?


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“So, what’s the field look like in Iowa?”

Snowy and bleak just now. (The devil made me write that…)

But by spring, I expect you’ll see some green shoots and other signs of vitality.

Cinderellastory | January 26, 2013 at 10:58 am

What is Harkin allowed to do with his 2.7 million dollars? Can he give it to any other candidate. If so, there should be a humongus tax on his transfer.

    Kenshu Ani in reply to Cinderellastory. | January 26, 2013 at 11:13 am

    That’s a really good question. I’d like to know what the rules are for campaign funds that retiring politicians have built up.

    However, being the cynic that I am, I really doubt that there is any tax on transfering it. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if he could just pocket the money and run (which might be better anyhow). At the very least, I imagine that he can give it to the DNC to use at their discretion.

Paging Iowa US Rep Steve King(R), please pick up the courtesy phone in the lobby…..

Is there a Hawkeye in the house who can give us some pointers?

TrooperJohnSmith | January 26, 2013 at 11:26 am

“Harkin said it would also allow a new generation of Democrats to seek higher office.”

That’s a polite way of saying, “I can’t sink as low as my party will take me.”

Gee…If we are lucky the GOP will field another totally unelectable candidate and allow the Dems another pickup.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | January 26, 2013 at 11:59 am

I like Steve King a lot but he is untested in statewide elections. Depending on who the Democrat candidate is, I worry that King’s strong conservative credentials may prevent him from winning a statewide election. Iowa should be a conservative state but Obama carried it twice. It is a swing state. I think that’s due to decades of Harkin’s extreme liberalism.

I suspect the “establishment” is going to circle the wagons around Governor Branstad. This guy has proven repeatedly he can win statewide elections. When he decided to return to politics and run for governor again in 2010, he still had an approval rating of 70% despite not having held office for over a decade. He is a winner. I’d prefer King or someone more conservative in their 30s or 40s, but I want to win the seat most of all. I may actually agree with Karl Rove for once if he backs Branstad.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to MaggotAtBroadAndWall. | January 26, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    “..untested in statewide elections

    Only candidates who’ve already won as governors or senators need apply? Can’t speak for Iowa, but in most states voters can’t name their AG or SoS, wouldn’t recognize them on the street passing by. Unless Iowa has a strong conservative who’s already won some statewide office, this codicil may be self-defeating.

Does this make him an “aye” on Feinstein’s gun grab?

Rebpublicans have done horrible in State wide elections going back a while now. So of that you can say is we didn’t put up very good Canaidates for Governor this is true. But when Tom Vilsack ran for his second term it wouldn’t have taken much to beat him and the republicans couldn’t even do that.

King is a horrible idea, good conservative but put him in a state wide race and your asking for him to be 2014 Adkin. Bad bad bad idea.

If Bransted wants to run he will win. Hands down But that comes at most likely losing the Governors mansion to Culver who was outed by Bransted in 2010. The most likely outcome would be Brandsted runs for one of these offices and Culver runs for the other than the both win.

Marcus in Iowa

    If it’s true that King is another Akin, one recalls that the Democrats intervened in the MO primary to help Akin get nominated. Can they try something similar in IA? If so, what can be done to stop them?

    I wouldn’t count out Congressman Dave Loebsack (D, 2nd District) from entering the primary. He’s been getting more statewide coverage. I actually think the Democrats are going to have a slug fest and beat each other up for the seat.

    On the Republican side Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, is a possibility, along with other the other prominent statewide elected Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. Former Congresmen Jim Nussle and Greg Ganske are probably considering a run. Current Congressmen Tom Latham and Steve King are possibilities. Former gubernatorial primary candidate and conservative Bob Vander Plaats might give it a go, although I think he’s still eyeing the Governor’s mansion Terrace Hill.

    My prediction: Bill Northey. The fact the the Des Moines register is pushing Steve King among all others tell me they think he’d the most beatable.

    I have no clue who the Democrats will nominate. Much of it will depend upon if Chet Culver wants another go at the Governor’s mansion, or follow his father to the Senate. Culver is relatively young; if he makes it to the Senate, I guarantee he’ll be running for President in the future.

      Marcuscole in reply to McCoy2k. | January 26, 2013 at 7:21 pm

      Dave Loebsack is sadly my congressman, and horrible congressman he is at that. But Iowa City is that much Liberal than the rest of the district and can keeps him in office. He might get good press but he hasn’t don’t anything Nancy didn’t tell him to do since he got into congress and to me and he just doesn’t impress me at all.

      As for the Republican side McCoy I think Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds is a good choice but other than that I see a lot of retreads that have already lost state wide elections on your list.

        That’s why my prediction of Bill Northey holds water. He’s not a retread, has won statewide, and has recognition. His name is one every stamp of certification on nearly every gas pump in Iowa.

Subotai Bahadur | January 26, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Not from Iowa, so I claim no special local knowledge. However, I have to note that the nomination process was changed at the last Republican National Convention, to give a final say to the Institutional Republicans. There is no way that anyone with any Conservative leanings is going to be allowed to be the candidate. It’s one of many reasons I left the Republicans a few weeks ago.

Even if their candidate wins the general election, the handbasket we are in does not change destination. But Institutional Republicans don’t fight Democrats in elections, they yield. And they will not fight Democrat vote fraud.

Subotai Bahadur

“So, what’s the field look like in Iowa?”


Is this Tom “Dung Heap” Harkin?

Given that I’m an Iowa native and still a resident voter, the State and National Democrats are “pushing” Harkin aside so former governor Chet Culver can run for the seat. Harkin will receive a good package, either as an appointment in Obama’s cabinet in his second term (possibly Secretary of Agriculture, if Tom Vilsack wants out) or a cushy board appointment or two.

The Republicans have an opportunity to get the open seat, as long as they don’t screw it up. It is interesting to note that Iowa Democrats have nominated ever-more-liberal candidates for the Senate, so Culver will very likely have an opponent on his left, who – if well funded, could damage his chances.

Raquel Pinkbullet | January 26, 2013 at 4:35 pm

All this analysis is based on logic and rationales of old. The modern democrat party is comprised of political terrorists, not rational or logical people. They are achieving a means to end, regardless of the law, truth, honor, integrity, and our future.

Fighting the Democrats based on how things should be or used to be is not a strategy. If you want to rebuild the high road, you’re going to need to win some elections first.

Raquel Pinkbullet | January 26, 2013 at 4:35 pm

All this analysis is based on logic and rationales of old. The modern democrat party is comprised of political terrorists, not rational or logical people. They are achieving a means to end, regardless of the law, truth, honor, integrity, and our future.

Fighting the Democrats based on how things should be or used to be is not a strategy. If you want to rebuild the high road, you’re going to need to win some elections first

Steve King is terrific. He was palinized before being palinized had a name. He would get a lot of support, though. He’s a fighter and we sure need some. He understands what we are up against and I trust him to work for the people. He has a record on this, thus the palinization.

Chet Culver is simply a member of the lucky sperm club. He grew up in DC because his dad was a Senator (roomate of Ted Kennedy, I seem to remember). And lobbyist He had no connection to Iowa until his run for Gov. He was a disaster. He only survived one term and exited with low approval ratings. Even democrats thought he was incompetent. He was considered low IQ for a governor, He couldn’t get into law school and ended up as a gym teacher, then politics. He gained alot of weight while in office and was frequently referred to as “chetterburger” in homage to the chedderburger from Culvers Burger chain (no relation). After he lost, he promptly left Iowa to return to the east coast to lobby. I doubt there is much enthusiasm for him to return.

Vilsack? Ugh. His wife just ran against Steve King and was humiliating in her own right, and thus, humiliated by King at the voting booth. There isn’t much nostalgia for Vilsack. One of his notable achievements was to give all felons the right to vote by executive order and well…all that other stuff that Dem govs did during those days to expand the voter rolls in their favor.

He was an early Hillary supporter though and it was widely thought his brief run for President was mostly to stand in for Hillary (get favorite son votes as caucus, drop out and pledge his folks to her). She was competing against John Edwards and Obama at the time and was in third.

Braley? He’s the architect of cash for clunkers which turned into an abysmal embarrassing failure.But, he’s looking to do something new having failed to achieve the love of establishment dems in Washington and is considering a run for Governor against Branstad. He may go for it.

Loebsack? He’s a member of the Progressive caucus and well…to shorthand it, an Alinskyite Marxist. So, no.

Tom Latham? Well, he’s a Boehner BFF and made the calls firing the conservatives from their posts. He would be in the camp that Oby is a nice guy but in over his head, rather than Oby wants to destroy America and is being very effective and must be stopped.

Branstad has never wanted to be Senator. I think he loves being Governor. He’s not a conservative though.He’s considering increasing the gas tax right now,for instance. He’s been around for 40 years??? Not really a fighter, and we need one.

Northey? No..don’t think so. Nothing notable there at all.

Nussle? rejected by the voters twice. After losing his congressional seat, he was nominated by Bush to be the director of OMB when Bush was spending alot. He’s tainted by that and it would be used against him easily during these times of great spending. He was rejected as Governor, losing to the aforementioned low IQ Culver, so that might tell us something of his statewide appeal.

Ganske? How far back must we go? He lost to Harkin once already. No, much too 80’s.

I think there will be great interest in this seat and most likely there will be people not on anyone’s radar who surface. I hope we have a robust tussle over the seat and we truly find out who is the better man for the task that needs done.

I can’t wait to find out who arises. We need a John Wayne.

But, losing a leftist like Harkin is a good day for America. We won’t send anyone as leftist as him to DC.

Harkin’s decision not to run may be tied to some ethics issues which have a pay for play stench to them that has surfaced over financing of his controversial Tom Harkin Vanity Institute at Iowa State University.

Reports in politico and other places, involve Herbal Life, some Koreans, and transparency issues related to everything they are doing. Much stench involving his wife Ruth and her role on the board of regents which authorized the vanity institute at the regent controlled university. Hush hush meetings, ramming through decisions. Yesterday, Politico article. Today, not running. Hmmm…

Theodore Sporer | January 27, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Just a brief introduction. I was the longest serving Republican chairman in Polk County (Des Moines and some of its suburbs, approximately 20% of turnout) history and served as Chairman of the state committee that ran the caucuses and straw poll.

The ultimate winner is not yet mentioned. He will be a dynamic Constitutional conservative that will focus a postivie campaign of a better tomorrow, a much smaller government that focuses on doing its core functions well and abandoning what government does poorly to more efficient policy actors, and strong and safe America that takes the war to the enemy in their homes before they do the same to us.

Keep your powder dry Hawkeyes-the best is yet to come if we look for the candidate I just described. We do not need to settle, we do not need merely hope, and we absolutely no longer need to cringe in the face of the liberal political and media hate machine guys, we really don’t.

CausticConservative | January 27, 2013 at 5:54 pm

With Commie Tommy finally, mercifully, stepping aside, Iowans get the opportunity for a fresh start. (There are people almost 30 years old who haven’t been alive as long as Iowa has had its two current Senators.)

Don’t look toward former beaten candidates. I expect both Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack, currently in the US House, to look at runs on the Dem side, but only one of them actually pulling the trigger on it. I imagine Braley will be the nominee, with Harkin’s blessing. Loebsack probably leans more to the commie end of the spectrum, like Harkin, but Braley has the aggressive backing of union tools that will be needed to win. Chet Culver was a disaster as governor, plagued with scandal and incompetence. He won’t even bother, staying in his cushy DC job. Tom Vilsack, current Sec of Ag, will run, but there’s little affection for him in Iowa these days, as evidenced by his wife’s electoral drubbing in a US House race this cycle. He will run a distant second in the primary. There will probably be 3 or 4 statehouse candidates for the seat on that side who will split about 10 percent of the primary vote, with the most progressive and noisy one getting the biggest share. I hate what this state has become.

On the R side, I can see Congressman Tom Latham running. His house seat was redistricted, forcing him to move this cycle, and it is a much bluer district now than it was. But he has the temperament to appeal across party lines the way Steve King probably couldn’t. King is too blunt. Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz is young, effective, and has been targeted by national Democrats for trying to clean up voter rolls. He would be a great candidate, but said he would not run against Harkin. Now he wouldn’t need to. Kent Sorenson is the Iowa Senator who defected from Michele Bachman’s campaign chairmanship and switched to Ron Paul right before the Iowa caucus. He has an ethics cloud over his head, but he’s a calculating individual and an over the top self promoter. I think his ego leads him into it. Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen is tactically very good, speaks effectively, and gets things done. I think he has small children, though, so I don’t know if this race is for him. Former Iowa House member Steve Lukan once had built a huge war chest, co-chaired for McCain in 2008, and was a very effective retail politician. I figured he was priming for something big. But when Branstad got elected two years ago, he jumped at the chance to head up Iowa’s office of drug control policy. He’s former military, NRA endorsed, and was a helluva candidate, winning multiple terms. I can’t figure out why he bugged out to an appointed position. He would have been perfect this cycle. But I don’t think he can get there from where he’s at now.

The biggest winner from this announcement is Branstad, who now will find that the most high profile Democrats won’t be interested in his governor’s seat. He will likely cruise to reelection, having righted the state’s deficit he inherited. Iowa House is debating returning $750 to each household of taxes this year. That’s a long way from where things were when he started two years ago, over a billion in the hole with state rainy day funds effectively at zero. There will be “profile raisers” on the GOP side, too, but they won’t get far, maybe a dark horse Paulbot like Sorenson can show, but I don’t think he wins.

Democrats must REALLY want Christy Vilsack in Washington, DC. She ran against Steve King in the last election