Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) will not make a bid for the Senate, he announced late Friday, a decision that comes after months of consideration and throws wide open the race for the Republican nomination.
King announced his decision on Twitter, saying a Senate race would take him out of "urgent battles" in Congress that cannot wait until after the 2014 election.
I will not run for Senate in 2014. A Senate race takes me out of urgent battles in Congress that can't wait until 2015. Many thanks to all.
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) May 4, 2013
Had King run, he would have been the odds-on favorite for the Republican nomination. But some Republicans, including Gov. Terry Branstad, had expressed concerns the congressman wouldn't be a good fit for the general election. King is an outspoken and staunchly conservative Republican with a knack for stoking controversy with his remarks.
King's poor fundraising pace in the first quarter of the year prompted speculation that he might opt against a bid. But there was still enthusiasm for him to run among conservative activists, keeping the door wide open for him.
King's decision now means the Republican field in the race to replace retiring Sen. Tom Harkin is wide open. A host of Republicans, including Rep. Tom Latham, have said they will not run. But with King out of the picture, it's possible they could be tempted to give the race a second look.
Other Republicans who have said no include state Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds. Former U.S. attorney Matt Whitaker, state Sen. Brad Zaun and Secretary of State Matt Schultz are viewed as possible Republican candidates. None of the three have ruled themselves out.
On the Democratic side, Rep. Bruce Braley has the field to himself, and is the presumptive nominee.