- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 20, 2011

DES MOINES, Iowa | Christie Vilsack, the wife of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, announced Wednesday she is taking the first step toward running for Congress by relocating to Iowa’s new 4th District.

“The decision to run for Congress deserves serious consideration,” Mrs. Vilsack said in a statement. “Next month, I will move to Ames and continue to explore the possibility of representing Iowa in the U.S. House of Representatives.”

Spokesman Matt Paul said Mrs. Vilsack has been considering her options, and the approval of new congressional districts prompted her to form an exploratory committee to study a run for the Democratic nomination. If she won in the primary, she would face Republican Rep. Steve King, who has represented the former 5th District for five terms.

Mr. King, of Kiron, already has announced his plans to seek another term in Congress.

Mrs. Vilsack, whose husband is a former Iowa governor, said she would launch a listening tour of the 4th District.

“It’s important to listen to Iowa families about the issues they want addressed in Congress,” said Mrs. Vilsack. “Hearing directly from citizens about their concerns and ideas is very important to me. Too often in campaigns, it’s the other way around.”

Mrs. Vilsack has lived in Mount Pleasant, a district that has been represented by Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack.

She has long harbored ambitions to run for Congress, and she was a frequent campaigner for her husband during his two successful campaigns for governor.