All signs point toward U.S. Senator Tom Harkin seeking a sixth term in 2014. He loves his policy work and even passed up a chance to chair the Senate Appropriations Committee in order to continue as head of the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee. In a December 27 e-mail blast from his campaign committee, Harkin indicated that he will "never stop" fighting for the middle class, even though certain "special interests" would love to send him "into early retirement." Citizens for Harkin finance director Jeremy Gold sent out another fundraising e-mail on December 29, including phrases like "We don’t know for sure who will challenge Tom" and "Republicans are already lining up to challenge Tom."
I don’t know about Republicans “lining up” to run against Harkin. Early handicappers inside the beltway consider this race a “likely Democrat” hold, and I agree for reasons Bleeding Heartland discussed here. Iowa’s ambitious Secretary of State Matt Schultz already took himself out of contention as a challenger to Harkin in 2014. I would be shocked if either U.S. Representative Tom Latham (IA-03 in the new Congress) or Steve King (IA-04) gave up a safe House seat to be a long-shot in a statewide race. Public Policy Polling found Harkin leading both Latham and King in an October 2011 survey. A poll by the same firm last month found Harkin leading a generic Republican opponent by 48 percent to 40 percent.
Any speculation about Harkin’s re-election campaign is welcome in this thread.