(CNN) – Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa decided against running for the U.S. Senate, saying Friday he wants to focus on legislation in the House rather than spend time on the campaign trail. “We have in front of us in Congress a series of potent issues which will redirect the destiny of our state and nation,” he said in a statement.
“Among them are a farm bill, ObamaCare, debt and deficit, immigration, and tax reform. If I step away from these responsibilities while campaigning in an effort to multiply leverage in the Senate, what becomes of our nation in the mean time?”
King was considered a potential candidate for the Republican nomination in the open Senate race in 2014. Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin announced earlier this year he would not seek re-election.
GOP Rep. Tom Lathan was also considering a bid but announced in February he would not seek the seat.
Rep. Bruce Braley so far is the only announce candidate in the race, while Republicans have yet to field a candidate.
Read King’s full statement:
I want to thank all of my friends, family, advisors and supporters who have put so much time, thought, prayer, and effort into helping me make a decision on whether to run for the United States Senate. I sincerely thank every potential candidate, all of whom graciously gave me room to decide. Probably no one in America, considering such an opportunity, enjoys as clear a path to the nomination. It is an extraordinary opportunity that will not be repeated in millions of lifetimes.
I have said from the beginning this decision requires "the head, the gut, and the heart" to line up together. I have done due diligence and evaluated the race from a statewide, objective perspective. I have talked with hundreds of supporters...and some detractors. I sincerely thank all of you who have helped in so many ways.
My analytical part, the head, tells me the race is winnable and must be won in 2014 or a generational opportunity could be lost. I have said a race for the Senate is "a slight up hill battle". It is, but it's "no hill for a climber".
The question I am answering today is, "What is my duty?" I believe my duty is to utilize the honor of serving Iowans in Congress by maximizing my effectiveness. I owe it to all Iowans and Americans to give you my best effort and best judgment.
We have in front of us in Congress a series of potent issues which will redirect the destiny of our state and nation. Among them are a farm bill, ObamaCare, debt and deficit, immigration, and tax reform. If I step away from these responsibilities while campaigning in an effort to multiply leverage in the Senate, what becomes of our nation in the mean time?
This week, I made a simple device to put toothpaste back in the tube. But a device to put the Leftist genie back in the bottle is not so simple. The best tool we have now is the majority in the U.S. House which functions mostly to keep the Leftist genie in the bottle. I cannot, in good conscience, turn my back on the destiny decisions of Congress today in order to direct all my efforts to a Senate race for next year, while hoping to gain the leverage to put the genie back in the bottle in 2015.
The most timely and conclusive piece of advice I received crystallized my decision. A friend, whose 77th birthday is today, said to me, "I will support you whatever you decide to do. If you decide to run, don't be a reluctant candidate." If I said, "Yes" to a Senate race, I would be a reluctant candidate because of the reasons I've written above.
Accordingly, I will not be a candidate for the United States Senate in 2014. It is my intention to turn my efforts and energy with great vigor to the issues at hand. I anticipate being on the ballot for reelection to the U.S. House, Fourth District of Iowa. It is a challenging and rewarding job that I enjoy. My sincerest thanks to all involved.