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Iowa Watchdog

High profile Iowa races taking shape


DES MOINES – Iowa’s two most high-profile races for 2014 are starting to take shape, although the final pool of candidates is far from finalized.

Former Democratic Gov. Tom Vilsack, who currently heads the U.S. Department of Agriculture, announced today through staff that he will not run for governor. It’s expected Republican Gov. Terry Branstad will run for an unprecedented — although not consecutive — sixth term.

Former Gov. Tom Vilsack is among the high profile Democrats that have turned down a bid for governor in 2014.

Former Gov. Tom Vilsack is among the high profile Democrats that have turned down a bid for governor in 2014.

Democrats’ top choice for the job, U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, announced earlier this year that he will run for U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin’s seat. Harkin has said that he will not seek another term after spending more than three decades in office.

Braley is the lone Democrat to announce a bid for Harkin’s seat. High profile Republicans, including Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, and U.S. representatives Tom Latham and Steve King, have all said they won’t run for the senate seat. Lower profile potential candidates, including Secretary of State Matt Schultz, have also declined a bid.


Matt Whitaker, former U.S. attorney under the George W. Bush administration, formally announced last week he will challenge Braley for the open Senate seat. He joined David Young, former chief of staff for Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley.

When it comes to the state’s top position, Democrats are beginning to step forward to take on Branstad, who appears to be positioning himself for another run.

State Sen. Jack Hatch has formed an exploratory committee to see if he has the fundraising capability to take on Branstad. Des Moines Mayor Frank Crownie also told Iowa Watchdog last week that he is considering a bid for governor, although he has taken no formal action.

Contact Sheena Dooley at Sheena Dooley is the Iowa bureau chief for, where this story first appeared.

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