Rod Roberts
Rod Roberts
October 11, 2013

Former State Rep. Rod Roberts of Carroll says he plans to make a decision within weeks on a possible bid for the U.S. Senate.

"Yes, I'm still seriously considering running," Roberts, a Republican, said in an interview Thursday.

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. He is approached regularly with questions from party regulars and other Iowans about the prospects of a Senate campaign.

Expect a decision before Thanksgiving - and possibly in the month of October, Roberts said.

"I've always believed there was room for someone to enter the primary in the fall," Roberts said.

Roberts, the director of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, said the 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.

He's touching those bases in terms of an analysis of a 2014 Senate run.

"Many of those conversations already have taken place," Roberts said.

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, Ames author and attorney Paul Lunde and former Ames car salesman Scott Schaben, a Kuemper Catholic High School alum.

Mark Jacobs of West Des Moines, the former CEO of Texas-based Reliant Energy, is considering a bid for the office.

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.

Campaign finance reports filed in coming days are likely to help guide decision-making for Roberts and Jacobs.