Reynolds won't run for U.S. Senate seat

Lt. Gov. said she prefers to stay put, working with Branstad

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Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Tuesday she won’t run for the U.S. Senate, the latest Republican to take her name out of the running to replace Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

In an email Tuesday, Reynolds said she prefers to stay put, working with Gov. Terry Branstad.

“Governor Branstad and I still have a lot we want to accomplish on behalf you, the people of Iowa. That's why, after serious and thoughtful discussions with family, friends, supporters and constituents, I have decided to remain as Lieutenant Governor and will not seek a seat in the United States Senate,” she said in the email. “I truly believe that my focus needs to remain on being Lieutenant Governor and working with Governor Branstad as we continue to move Iowa forward.”

Reynolds joins Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, in passing on the 2014 race. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, is considering a bid, but he has not announced a decision.

There are a handful of other potential candidates, including Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, Secretary of State Matt Schultz, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Red Oak, and former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker.

Northey said Tuesday he's in the last stages of making a decision.

“I will know and announce in the not-too-distant future, but I haven’t decided yet," he said.

Democrats are lining up behind Rep. Bruce Braley, who has been campaigning aggressively for the office, raising $1 million in the first quarter of this year and picking up a host of labor endorsements. He's also got the support of a range of Democratic officeholders, including Harkin.

The filing deadline for primaries isn't until next year, but the funding requirements alone usually call for an early entry into the race. Others who have not run statewide also will need time to introduce themselves to the public they haven't represented before.

With Reynolds and Latham passing, much of the attention now will likely focus on what King decides to do.

There have been reports that King is likely not to run, but he's not said so yet.

Nick Ryan, a longtime Republican consultant from Des Moines, said Tuesday he isn't concerned yet about the fact no Republican has stepped up to announce a candidacy. But he added, it's not that far off.

"The time is flying, and Braley is going to be a hell of a tough opponent," he said.

Reynolds, along with the governor, of course, are up for re-election in 2014. Although Branstad hasn’t announced whether he’ll seek another term, many expect him to run again.

--- Cedar Rapids Gazette reporter James Q. Lynch contributed to this article.

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