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Ag Secretary Northey passes on U.S. Senate run, hopes King jumps in

Iowa Agriculture Secretary, Bill Northey, today took his name out of the running for the open U.S. Senate seat in 2014. “I certainly appreciate all the good comments folks have given me, the encouragement. But just in family and other issues it’s just not the right time for me,” Northey told Radio Iowa.

“I’m pleased about the rest of the folks, certainly very encouraged about the opportunity to support Steve King if he decides to run. Otherwise, I think there’s good list of other folks who would be good candidates as well.” Northey said he was talking with fellow Republican Congressman King as he tried to decide if he would run.

( Courtesy Iowa Radio News’ Dar Danielson) – King said recently he is still undecided on running, but Northey would like him to get into the race. “I am hopeful, he and I have been in contact through this, it’s been a great chance to talk through how we think the race breaks, what the political factors are, the impact on our families. I don’t know what he is going to do. I would love it if he would run,” Northey says.

Congressman Bruce Braley is the only Democrat to announce a run for the U.S. Senate since Democrat Tom Harkin announced he would retire and not seek another term. Northey believes the race for the open seat is a 50-50 proposition.

“As folks get increasingly concerned about what’s happening in Washington and the lack of bringing a budget together, the budget problems, Obamacare, other kinds of things, I really believe things break very well for a Republican and the kind of Iowa points of view that can be delivered as an alternative to what’s happening and what Congressman Braley brings to this race,” Northey says.

“So, I believe it can be won, I certainly believe that I could have gathered the support as well.” Northey farms near Spirit Lake, and says he is not making an announcement now, but will probably run for another term as Ag Secretary.

“I think that’s logically what I would do. I haven’t begun to put a campaign together, I just made the decision on the senate race,” according to Northey. “But I do love this job, we’ve got lots of things to do. We are working on a nutrient reduction strategy I think that is going to be quite helpful to producers and avoid regulations down the road….I certainly would expect that I would run again for secretary of ag.”

Congressman Tom Latham passed on running, and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds announced last week that she had also decided against seeking the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate. State Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican from Red Oak, has announced she is considering a run.

Former U.S. Attorney and Republican candidate for State Treasurer, Matt Whittaker, says he will run if King does not run.