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Latham will not seek re-election in 2014

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013 6:57 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 11:22 a.m. CDT

DES MOINES (MCT) – U.S. Rep. Tom Latham made a surprise announcement in a holiday note to his constituents by telling them he does not plan to seek re-election next November.

“It is never a perfect time or a right time to step aside. But for me, this is the time,” Latham, 65, said in his email message. “I want to share with you my decision that I will not be a candidate for any office in November of 2014.”

The Clive Republican, who also has lived in Alexander and Ames during his stint in Congress since 1993, called the time he has spent in the U.S. House the greatest honor of his lifetime but he noted that the job often has taken him away from his home and his family.

“For a farm kid from a small town in Franklin County this has truly been an amazing and honored experience,” said Latham, who became the second long-serving Iowa in Washington, D.C., to announce plans to step down in January 2015.

Previously, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, announced his planned retirement when his current term expires, and U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, is vacating his 1st District seat to run for the U.S. Senate. The developments mean Iowa will be in the unusual position of having two open U.S. House seats and an open U.S. Senate seat contested on the November 2014 general election ballot.

“As I noted earlier this year, my service to Iowa has never been motivated by titles, accolades or a drive to secure a place for my name in history or on a building,” he said. “I have always been motivated by a responsibility and commitment to the people of Iowa, who elected me to faithfully work for an America that provides greater freedom and more opportunity for our children and grandchildren.”

At the same time, Latham said the support he has received from his constituents make his decision to retire more difficult given that “I have never been in a stronger position to win re-election to Congress.”

He noted that he still has one year left on his current term and he pledged to work “with every ounce of energy to advance common-sense solutions that transcend politics and provide results that end wasteful spending, gets our debt under control and delivers a more efficient, effective and accountable government.”

——— ©2013 The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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