Republican Congressman Steve King says he does not anticipate voluntarily going back into the business world.
King, who is 62 years old, owned and operated a western Iowa earth-moving company when he was elected to the state senate in 1996. He’s been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 2003.
“I don’t anticipate going back to the private sector. I’m all in on public service,” King says. “I love this work and I’ve told people a number of times that this is nine years in congress — it’s gone by like it was a single year.”
King plans to seek reelection to congress in 2012 and he will likely face Democrat Christie Vilsack, Iowa’s former first lady whose husband is a cabinet secretary in the Obama Administration. King predicts the contest will be among the top five most closely-watched congressional races in the country.
“I take the reelection effort for the new fourth district very seriously,” King says, “…seriously enough to put out some effort to raise some money the last quarter.”
King raised over $600,000 in the first three quarters of the year and had half-a-million dollars cash in his campaign account at the end of September. Christie Vilsack raised nearly $760,000 during the same period and on September 30 had over $545,000 cash on hand.
But there’s a major political event before the November 2012 election — the Iowa Caucuses. King sponsored a forum last February in Des Moines that featured a handful of politicians who said at the time they were mulling a race for the White House. King says there are a “couple of things” that are “holding him back” from endorsing one of the 2012 candidates.
“I don’t yet see a presidential candidate that’s laid out a financial plan for America, that fixes this financial problem that we are in. I am calling upon them to do that, put that plan out,” King says. “The second thing is I haven’t heard yet from any of them the ‘Shining City on a Hill’ speech that lets me understand that they have the vision for the destiny of America. Those two things are a couple of things that could settle me on a candidate, if I heard them.”
King has been a long and ardent critic of the concept of “amnesty” for illegal immigrants and he says the views Newt Gingrich holds on that issue make it “hard” to think of endorsing Gingrich.
King made his comments during taping of the Iowa Public Television program, “Iowa Press,” which airs tonight at 7:30. The video of the show has been posted online.