Former Iowa Governor and Current U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced that he will not run for the U.S. Senate seat left open by Senator Tom Harkin’s decision to retire. This morning Matt Paul, an aide to Secretary Vilsack, told The Des Moines Register that Vilsack is focused on his job as Agriculture Secretary. A recent Iowa Poll commissioned by The Des Moines Register showed that Vilsack was the strongest prospective Democrat candidate to run. Vilsack’s decision now likely clears the way for Congressman Bruce Braley (D-IA) to capture the nomination of his party.
On the Republican side the speculation as far as who will run is still wide open. The two favorites for the Republican nomination would be Congressman Tom Latham (R-IA) and Congressman Steve King (R-IA). I believe it is unlikely that the two will engage in a contested primary with each other. Recent polling has shown that Congressman King is the early favorite of likely Iowa Republican primary voters.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee released a statement calling Vilsack’s decision not to run a failure for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “The DSCC tried and failed to prevent Senator Harkin’s hand chosen candidate, Rep. Bruce Braley, from a clear path to the nomination because they know his brand of liberalism is too far outside the mainstream for most Iowans. Now Democrats are stuck with a slick former head of the trial lawyers association and one of the most partisan members of Congress as their candidate, Bruce Braley.”