There is but one statewide race on the ballot in Iowa this year. It will determine who represents Iowa in the United States Senate. Sixty-eight-year-old Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, is seeking a fifth term in the United States Senate.
“During these very tough, turbulent times what we need in the Senate is a steady, effective hand,” Harkin says. Thirty-six-year-old Christopher Reed of Marion is the Republican challenger. “I want to go to Washington because I believe Washington is broken and I don’t think it can be fixed by sending the same man back for a fifth term,” Reed says.
“It’s been 34 years. I was three years old when he went to congress. I was playing with Tonka trucks when he was a rookie.” Harkin was elected to the U.S. House in 1974 when he defeated the Republican incumbent in a southwestern Iowa district.
In 1984, Harkin ran against an incumbent Republican and won one of Iowa’s two seats in the U.S. Senate. In 1990, ’96 and 2002, Republican Congressmen unsuccessfully challenged Harkin’s re-election bids. Reed, the Republican challenging Harkin in 2008, is a small businessman who once served in the Navy.
Reed has raised little money for his race, but Reed raised his level of rhetoric last week when he accused Harkin of being “anti-American.” “Providing aid and comfort to the enemy. He advocated leaving Iraq…giving our enemies the playbook,” Reed said during a forum with Harkin that was broadcast on Iowa Public Television. “…Our enemy will be more determined because they will have been allowed to claim victory over the United States of America…and then they’re bring that fight over to Main Street America and I have children that go to school and I’m not willing to think about roadside bombs in Marion, Iowa.”
Harkin responded. “These kinds of personal attacks are what people get sick of in politics. You know, these ankle-biting, personal attacks that you’re anti-American,” Harkin said. “This is nonsense.”
AUDIO: Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson profile of U.S. Senate race. 1:40 MP3