Rod Roberts
Rod Roberts
July 12, 2013

Republican Rod Roberts, a former Carroll legislator now heading the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, says he plans to make a decision by October about entering an increasingly crowded GOP primary field for the U.S. Senate.

Roberts said he is meeting with state and national Republicans to determine the politics and finances of a potential bid. He stressed in an interview this week with the Daily Times Herald that he is "seriously considering" a 2014 run to succeed U.S. Sen Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

"Every day, there's someone else, and either they've just heard, or they express, 'If you're not thinking about it, you should be,'" Roberts said.

Roberts, who lost a GOP gubernatorial primary in 2010 to Gov. Terry Branstad, built a statewide network in the process. At a Republican event in May in Cedar Rapids Roberts sat with members of the Johnson County Republican Party.

Roberts said his Terrace Hill run gives him an understanding of the sort of infrastructure, from money to boots on the ground, that it will take to compete in a Senate race.

The Republican U.S. Senate field now includes state Sen. Joni Ernst of Red Oak, David Young of Van Meter, U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley's chief of staff until recently, radio-talk personality Sam Clovis of Sioux City, former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker of Des Moines and Ames author and attorney Paul Lunde.

Mark Jacobs of West Des Moines, the former CEO of Texas-based Reliant Energy, is considering a bid for the office, as is former Ames car salesman Scott Schaben, a Kuemper Catholic High School alum.

U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, U.S. Rep. Tom Latham, R-Clive, Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds have all passed on running for the Senate.

U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley of Waterloo is the presumptive Democratic candidate.