Kraig Paulsen

Kraig Paulsen

The top Republican is the Iowa legislature has decided against running for congress in 2014. House Speaker Kraig Paulsen of Hiawatha had been considering a bid for Iowa’s first district congressional seat.

“What in May and early June to some degree seemed like a very obvious and easy decision, as I started to work through it, it just became apparent to me that the task before me is in Des Moines, not Washington, D.C.,” Paulsen said during an interview with Radio Iowa.

Paulsen had been mulling the idea of running for congress since the 2013 Iowa legislative session ended in late May. Paulsen said the partisan gridlock in D.C. was not a factor in his decision.

“There’s no question that Washington, D.C. is dysfunctional right now,” Paulsen said, “but a person running whether it’s for congress or the statehouse or any other elected office I think needs to feel that challenge and that fire in that belly to go serve their constituents, in this case Iowans, in whatever the office is and the truth is that the challenge that I continue to feel and the fire in the belly that I continue to feel takes me to the Iowa House in Des Moines.”

Paulsen has been telling family, friends and close supporters over the past few days he decided against running for congress. He made his decision public this afternoon and is ready to start putting together an agenda for the 2014 legislative session.

“On the political front, the campaign front, we’re obviously going to continue to recruit candidates. I think House Republicans are positioned to maintain the majority,” Paulsen said. “We’ve had some profound success in this last session. You know my expectation is that Iowans will reward that with a Republican majority again in 2014.”

Iowa’s current first district congressman, Democrat Bruce Braley, is running for the U.S. Senate in 2014. Two Republicans and a handful of Democrats in the area have announced they intend to run for the seat.