Mr. Harkin, Iowa Democrat, said in a statement that he will call it quits when his term ends next year because he wants to spend more time with his wife Ruth “before it gets too late” and after nearly 40 years in Congress “it’s somebody else’s turn.”
“I can’t put into words what an honor it is to serve Iowa,” Mr. Harkin said. “And I don’t by any means plan to retire completely from public life at the end of this Congress. But I am going to make way for someone new in this Senate seat. I think that is right not just for me, but for Iowa, as well.”
No Iowa Republicans have taken formal steps toward running for the seat — though some have speculated that Iowa Reps. Steve King and Tom Latham, and the state’s Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds were among those considering challenging Mr. Harkin, 73.
President Obama won Iowa in 2012 and 2008. Former President George W. Bush took the state in 2004.
Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, West Virginia Democrat, announced earlier this month that he would not seek another term in the Senate, and Sen. Saxby Chambliss, Georgia Republican, said this week that he would retire at the end of his current term.
As it stands, there are a total of 35 Senate seats up for grabs. Democrats will be defending 21 of them, and Republicans will be defending 14. Democrats now hold a 55- to 45-seat edge — including two independents that caucus with the party.
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