Lieutenant governor weighs GOP US Senate bid

DES MOINES – Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds said Thursday she is considering running for the U.S. Senate seat Democrat Tom Harkin will be giving up after the 2014 election.

“I’ll take a serious look at it,” the Republican said during a conference call Thursday from the Philippines, where she is leading a trade mission.

Republican Congressman Tom Latham had been exploring a campaign for Senate since Harkin announced a month ago he would be stepping down after five terms. But Latham announced Wednesday he wasn’t seeking the seat, despite the urging of Gov. Terry Branstad, who argued that Latham had represented more than half of Iowa’s 99 counties over the course of nearly 20 years in Congress.

Congressman Steve King, an outspoken conservative from northwest Iowa, is also weighing a bid. Branstad has urged him to wait, and a national conservative group has named King as the type of potentially polarizing candidate Republicans should avoid nominating in light of high-profile Senate losses last year.

Reynolds, 53, was a state senator from southern Iowa for two years before Branstad selected her as his running mate in 2010. She is a protege of the veteran, pro-business governor, but is also popular with Iowa’s robust evangelical conservative movement.