Senator Tom Harkin says he’ll continue to work hard for Iowans for the next two years as he heads into retirement.
At the same time, Democrats and Republicans will work hard to find the right candidate to take the seat Harkin will hold for 30 years.
“It’s somebody else’s turn. It’s somebody else’s turn,” said Harkin.
With those words, the fight for Harkin’s United States Senate seat begins.
“Republicans see it as a big pick up opportunity,” says David Kochel, the senior Iowa advisor for Mitt Romney.
“It’s wide open on both sides,” said Scott Brennan, a former chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party.
According to political insiders Brennan and Kochel, Iowa’s current congressmen are the early front runners.
“Congressman Braley has expressed interest previously and I wouldn’t be surprised if Congressman Loebsack took a look at it too,” Brennan told Channel 13 News.
“Both Congressman Latham and Congressman King will take a look at it and both will be great candidates,” Kochel said.
Their decision to run would have a ripple effect on other state races.
On the democratic side, Representative Bruce Braley has been rumored as a candidate for governor.
“His decision makes all sorts of pieces move. People who were looking to run for governor may run for senate,” said Brennan.
If two sitting congressman battle it out for a seat in the senate, there’s no shortage of Iowa lawmakers looking to make a jump of their own.
“You’ve got a number of state legislators who would look at it. You have past candidates from higher offices that would look at it. It’s a long list,” Kochel said.
With so many rumored candidates, both sides say they’ll need to kick their fundraising efforts into full gear.
“It’s probably a $10-$15 million dollar race on either side,” Kochel told Channel 13 News.
Raising that money is hardest when fighting others within your own party.
“Once the primary is over, you’ll be able to generate significant funds,” said Brennan.
After primaries, national attention and money will shift to the Iowa Senate race.