In this Monday, Oct. 25, 2010 photo, U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, speaks to reporters following a rally in support of three Iowa Supreme Court justices who are up for retention votes in the November election, in Des Moines, Iowa. Harkin says he will not seek re-election in 2014, The Associated Press reports Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
CUMMING, Iowa (AP) — U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin said Saturday he will not seek a sixth term in 2014, a decision that eases some of the burden the national Republican Party faces in retaking the Senate.
Harkin, chairman of an influential Senate committee, announced his decision during an interview with The Associated Press, saying the move could surprise some.
The 73-year-old cited his age — he would be 81 at the end of a sixth term — as a factor in the decision, saying it was time to pass the torch he has held for nearly 30 years, freeing a new generation of Iowa Democrats to seek higher office.
“I just think it’s time for me to step aside,” Harkin told the AP.
Harkin, first elected in 1984, ranks seventh in seniority and fourth among majority Democrats. He is chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and chairman of the largest appropriations subcommittee.
Harkin has long aligned with the Senate’s more liberal members, and his signature legislative accomplishment is the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. He also served as a key salesman of President Login to read more