Carroll <br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->native Rod Roberts, a former state legislator who heads the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, lost his bid for governor in 2010.

native Rod Roberts, a former state legislator who heads the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, lost his bid for governor in 2010.
February 17, 2014

Carroll Republican Rod Roberts, a high-profile Iowa conservative who built the exploratory infrastructure to run for the U.S. Senate, this morning said he won't enter the race to succeed Tom Harkin.

"In the end, it's what you think you should do in terms of family," Roberts, a former Iowa House representative, said.

In an interview with the Daily Times Herald, Roberts, 56, said the timing is not right to run an intense campaign with national interest. While the candidate is the "point person" the full family must be involved, he said.

Roberts, who sought the Republican nomination for governor in 2010 that Terry Branstad earned, is the director of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals. He plans to continue in that role.

"I enjoy what I do," Roberts said.

Roberts also ruled out runs for secretary of state and Iowa's 3rd Congressional District seat in 2014.

There is still one possibility for Roberts to emerge this summer as the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.

If none of the six GOP candidates currently in the race reach the 35 percent threshold at the polls in the June 3 primary, the decision will go to a state Republican convention. In that situation a candidate from outside the field - say Roberts, or Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds - could be selected.

Branstad has told the Daily Times Herald he thinks such a wildcard route is unlikely - an assessment with which Roberts quickly agreed.

"That's conventional thinking and accurate," Roberts said.

But were he nominated at convention, Roberts said, he would have to reconsider his decision on the race.

"I never say 'never' down the road," Roberts said.

Roberts said he is neutral as far the current Republican field is concerned.

"I know them all, I like them all," he said.

The Republican U.S. Senate field now includes state Sen. Joni Ernst of Red Oak; radio-talk personality Sam Clovis of Sioux City; former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker of Clive; Ames author and attorney Paul Lunde; Mark Jacobs of West Des Moines, the retired CEO of Texas-based Reliant Energy; and 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. Reynolds all passed on running for the Senate.

Christian conservative leader Bob Vander Plaats announced Saturday that he would not run for the U.S. Senate.

U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley of Waterloo is the presumptive Democratic candidate. Veteran U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, is retiring at the end of the year.