Former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack this morning announced she will not be a candidate for the U.S. Senate.
Christie Vilsack said earlier this month that she was “well-qualified” to run for the U.S. Senate seat Republican Chuck Grassley has held since 1981. But in a written statement issued today, Vilsack said she had given “careful consideration of the opportunity” and had been “flattered and humbled by the requests from Democrats, Independents and even some Republicans to consider running.” But Vilsack said she had decided not to run. Read her entire statement below.
A Christie Vilsack candidacy may have complicated her husband’s work as U.S. Ag Secretary. Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, in his current role, deals directly with members of the senate in crafting U.S. farm policy. Had she decided to run, however, Christie Vilsack would not have been the first spouse of a cabinet secretary to run for the U.S. Senate. Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, served as President Bush’s Labor Secretary. McConnell sought reelection to the senate in 2002 and in 2008, while his wife served in Bush’s cabinet.
Des Moines Attorney Roxanne Conlin said last week she is “leaning heavily” toward a run for the Senate in 2010. Conlin was the Democratic Party’s 1982 nominee for governor.
Two men from eastern Iowa who are former state legislators are running for the Democratic Party’s 2010 U.S. Senate nomination.
STATEMENT BY CHRISTIE VILSACK
REGARDING THE 2010 US SENATE RACE
“My life in public service has taught me many things but one of the most important is an understanding that there are many ways to serve at different points in life. As a career educator, activist and advocate, I have a deep appreciation for the role elected officials play in our communities. My varied experiences – teaching Iowa’s children, advancing literacy across the state during Tom’s term as Governor and now working to support preventative health care – continue to inspire my passion for public service.
“Committing to a campaign for the US Senate next year requires more than the confidence that I have the right experience, the necessary support and the resources to be successful. It must come with an understanding that it is the best way for me serve our State and my fellow Iowans in the most effective way possible at this time. I have decided not to run for the United States Senate in 2010. I will continue my work with the Iowa Initiative to Prevent Unintended Pregnancy and will be active in our Party and across the state in issues that affect the quality of life for all Iowans.
“I am flattered and humbled by the requests from Democrats, Independents and even some Republicans to consider running. My careful consideration of the opportunity to represent Iowa in the Senate was done with great respect for those who came to me and the office itself.
“While I will not be a candidate for office in 2010, never doubt I am committed to a life of service and to Iowa.”