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Latham won't run again

BY BRENT GRIFFITHS | DECEMBER 18, 2013 5:00 AM

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Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, announced Tuesday he would not seek re-election to the U.S. House.
An Iowa political expert characterized as “shaking up the state political landscape,” while Gov. Terry Branstad said Latham’s work serves as a “model” for how the government should operate.

“… Responsible leaders — regardless of what level they serve — must always take time to reflect on when it is time to step away from the task that they love,” Latham said in a statement to his supporters. “It is never a perfect time or a right time to step aside.  But for me, this is the time.”

The 10-term congressman and currently the most senior Iowa representative in the House, said he had discussed the decision to retire every year with his family, and said his time spent with the family agricultural business and his nearly two decades of service in the House were a part of his decision.

“In fact, in my 39 years of marriage to Kathy, I have spent half of it on the road building a family business and the other half serving in the United States Congress,” he said.

Branstad thanked Latham for his service and singled out his work across the aisle as something others could learn from. Lt Gov. Kim Reynolds added she was disappointed to hear the announcement, and feels the Alexander, Iowa, native served his constituents well.

“As a business owner and a lifelong Iowan, Tom served as a tried and true voice for Iowans in Congress,” Reynolds said.

An expert in Iowa politics said the announcement was a big surprised, and will open up another rare opportunity — now three seats in Iowa’s congressional delegation will be open for the 2014 election.

“[The announcement] certainly does make things interesting with an open Senate seat and two open House seats,” said Tim Hagle, a University of Iowa associate professor of political science. “Lots of potential presidential candidates may come to help with another open House seat, which will mean we will probably see even more visits from folks along those lines.”

Latham’s decision means he joins Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin who previously had announced he would not run for re-election after 2014. It also marks the second open seat in Iowa’s four member U.S. House delegation; Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, is running to fill Harkin’s seat.

Des Moines resident Joe Grandanette previously announced he was going to challenge Latham, while Staci Appel, an Ackworth resident and a former Iowa House representative, is seeking the Democratic nomination.


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