Iowa: Latham Not Running for Senate

Rep. Tom Latham said Wednesday he will not run for Senate, citing a responsibility to his constituents. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Iowa Rep. Tom Latham announced Wednesday that he will not run for the Republican nomination for Senate, clearing a major primary hurdle for Rep. Steve King, who is seriously considering a bid.

"I cannot in good conscience launch a two-year statewide campaign that will detract from the commitment I made to the people who elected me, at a time when our nation desperately needs less campaigning and more leadership," Latham said in a statement.

Latham appeared on the verge of a statewide campaign following the retirement announcement of Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin. He changed the name of his campaign committee to "Iowans for Latham" and received the most encouraging numbers among Republicans in a Des Moines Register poll.

King was recently cited by a new GOP group formed to help the party nominate strong Senate candidates as an example of someone who would have a tough time winning statewide. Amid that criticism, King told CQ Roll Call earlier this month that he was waiting to make a final decision about running.

Rep. Bruce Braley is the only major Democrat in the race, as Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced earlier this month that he will not seek the open seat.

CQ Roll Call rates this race as Leans Democratic.