Senate agriculture committee member won’t seek re-election`

Tom Vilsack, US agriculture secretary, named as a potential replacement candidate

Senate Agriculture Committee member Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, has announced that he won’t seek re-election when his term ends in 2014.

Harkin has served in the United States Congress since being elected to a House of Representatives seat in 1974. He has been a member of the Senate since 1985.

“I have been thinking hard about the decision whether to run for a sixth term in the United States Senate for a number of months – even more these last few weeks. I’ve reached a decision, and what I’ve decided really boils down to two things,” said Harkin. “First, I’m going to fulfill a promise that I made to my wife Ruth, and that I also made to myself. It’s a promise that we’re going to do certain things together – and that we’re going to live together in a way we’ve often talked about – before it gets too late.”

As for potential successors, both parties have several prospects, according to the Washington Post. Republicans named include Iowa Lieutenant Gov. Kim Reynolds, Rep. Tom Latham and Rep. Steve King. Democrats whose names have entered the discussion include Rep. Bruce Braley, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and his wife, Christie Vilsack, who unsuccessfully challenged King in 2012.