Rod Roberts
Rod Roberts
November 18, 2013



Saying deliberations on a possible U.S. Senate bid have "widened and deepened," former State Rep. Rod Roberts remains "seriously interested" in the prospect of running to succeed Tom Harkin.

"I still believe that this fall is the window of opportunity for others to come in," Roberts, a Carroll Republican, said in an interview this morning.

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.

"The conversation with regard to me has widened and deepened," Roberts said.

Several weeks ago, Roberts said he likely would make a decision by the time gravy flowed onto Thanksgiving turkey and potatoes.

"Some people serve that at Christmas as well," he joked.

Roberts, the director of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, said he sees a path to the nomination if he would enter the race in December or even at the beginning of 2014.

He 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 using that experience to assess his options 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; 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 expected to enter the race this week. He has scheduled an interview with The Daily Times Herald for next Monday..

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. U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, a veteran Democrat, is not seeking re-election.