Three Republicans are vying for the chance to face Democrat Senator Tom Harkin in November. In Tuesday’s primary election, Iowa Republicans have George Eichhorn, Steve Rathje and Christopher Reed as their choices for a U.S. Senate candidate in November.
Eichhorn, a 53-year-old lawyer from Stratford, emerged in March as a candidate for the U.S. Senate. "I’ve been reviewing things that have been going on for the last six years and think that Iowa and this country are not exactly going in the right direction," Eichhorn says. "…Then, I basically reviewed the scenarios, the different people who be anticipated would be running, and decided to run."
Eichhorn lost his bid for re-election to the Iowa House in 2006, but Eichhorn says his previous six years as a state legislator will be an advantage in a match-up against Harkin. "What I would say is that there is one candidate here in the Republican primary who has a proven record on the issues that are important to Iowa, be it on taxes, on fighting government waste, on fighting bureaucracy," Eichhorn says.
Eichhorn labels Harkin a career politician who’s part of what Eichhorn believes is wrong in the nation’s capitol. "His policies don’t reflect Iowa," Eichhorn says. "…There are so many problems that aren’t being resolved. We need somebody that will go and address the problems."
Christopher Reed, a 36-year-old from Marion, served in the Navy before returning to Iowa and starting his own business. "I am not a politician. I’m just an Iowan that wants to go represent Iowans," Reed says. "I believe that’s the way the framers had the two houses of congress in mind is that ordinary citizens would go do the representative work and then go back and then another group would come in."
Reed says his lack of political experience should be a plus. "For the four terms Tom Harkin has run, the Republican Party of Iowa has put some form of politician against him and every time (Tom Harkin) has used that politician’s record to smear mud and steer clear of the issues," Reed says. Harkin defeated three Republican Congressmen — Greg Ganske, Jim Lightfoot and Tom Tauke — in his three previous bids for re-election. In his first race for the U.S. Senate, Harkin was the challenger who defeated incumbent Republican Senator Roger Jepsen.
All three of the Republican candidates who hope to be their party’s 2008 U.S. Senate nominee offer themselves as a conservative alternative to Harkin. Reed attacks Harkin on the values front. "His greatest weakness is that he is a died-in-the-wool liberal who votes against Iowa values any chance he gets," Reed says.
The third candidate in the field — Steve Rathje – – is a businessman from Cedar Rapids who launched his campaign in March of 2007. Rathje declined to be interviewed for this story and his campaign website does not feature a public schedule for the candidate.
Harkin served as a congressman for 10 years before winning a seat in the U.S. Senate in 1984.