Former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker expressed interest in Iowa’s Senate seat on the day Senator Tom Harkin announced his retirement plans, and it appears the Republican is close to launching a campaign. WHO-TV’s Dave Price noticed today that there’s a MattWhitaker.org website. For now, the only content is a picture of Whitaker, an announcement that “MattWhitaker.org is coming soon,” and a link you can click to sign up for e-mails.
Whitaker likely won’t clear the Republican primary field, but he should have no trouble raising a lot of money for a Senate campaign. A former University of Iowa football player, he served as U.S. attorney for the southern district of Iowa during George W. Bush’s administration. He is now a managing partner in the Des Moines law firm Whitaker Hagenow & Gustoff LLP. The other senior partners are Iowa House Majority Whip Chris Hagenow and William Gustoff, whom Governor Terry Branstad tried to appoint to the State Judicial Nominating Commission. Branstad’s legal counsel Brenna Findley joined the Whitaker Hagenow law firm in 2010, while she was campaigning for Iowa attorney general.
Earlier this month, Whitaker sparred with Democratic Senate candidate Bruce Braley’s campaign manager Jeff Link on Dave Price’s Sunday morning television show. He said he was getting a lot of encouragement to run for Senate from Republicans all over Iowa.
UPDATE: Republican blogger Craig Robinson predicts that in a GOP primary, Whitaker’s “decision to represent Zach Edwards […] could come back to haunt him.” In early 2012, Edwards was arrested and charged with attempting identity theft against Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz. He ended up pleading guilty to a misdemeanor. Schultz is also thinking about running for the U.S. Senate seat.
SECOND UPDATE: Here are Whitaker’s statistics as a football player.