Iowa Fifth District Congressman Steve King, a Republican from Kiron, ended speculation today that he might run against Democrat Senator Tom Harkin. King announced this morning that he will seek another term in Congress,and a short time later talked about the announcement on Sioux City radio station K.S.C.J.
“Where I am is this, that with a McCain presidency, the need to unify the party, and the configuration of what has to happen, the moderates and the conservatives have to pull together if we’re (Republicans) are gonna have a president,”King says. King says if the people of the Siouxland want to elect him again, he would be very happy to serve another couple of years.
King’s district is in western Iowa, but he says he found he had some name recognition in campaigning in eastern Iowa this year with former Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson. King says the cost of a Senate campaign was another consideration. King says the race against Harkin would have been competitive, “In the end it’s ten million dollars to have the chance to toss the coin on election night,” King says.
King says he would have been able to raise the money as the latest filings showed he outraised everyone else in the Iowa congressional delegation in the first quarter — something he says is a first. King says it came down to being in Congress with a new Republican president elected in November.
Senator Harkin was asked earlier this week about speculation that King would run against him — and Harkin joked that King hadn’t let him in on the planning process. King says he liked that and Harkin was one of the first people he told about his decision.
“I thought that his tone and his sense of humor was very good when he said ‘this may be a shock, but Steve King hasn’t confided in me,’ so from the airport last night I picked up the phone and called Senator Harkin….We had a little talk about this and I told him that I wanted him to be the first to know aside from my wife and some of our close staff that I would not be a candidate for the U.S. Senate,” King says. King says Harkin told him that he had “made his day.”
The congressman says he had a 15-20 minute conversation with Harkin about a lot of things. King ran and won the fifth district congressional seat in 2002 after redistricting.