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Businessman Stumps to Oust Harkin Next Year

Cedar Rapids businessman Steve Rathje (R) kicked off his long-shot quest to oust four-term Sen. Tom Harkin (D) with a six-city swing on Tuesday.

On his campaign Web site, Rathje, who runs a procurement services company, described himself as a conservative Republican committed to fighting the war on terrorism and wasteful government spending.

“The Republican Party is the elected party of choice by Iowans and America,” he said. “As your United States Senator, I will not waver. I will vote that choice consistently. I will vote that choice with honesty, and I will vote that choice with integrity. I am a proven leader and I intend to lead.”

Republicans are hoping to woo a better-known candidate into the race against Harkin, who never has won more than 55 percent of the vote in any of his statewide campaigns. Rep. Steve King (R) told the Sioux City Journal in Wednesday’s editions that he is still considering the race.

“The evaluation process has gone on for several months and will continue for several months,” he said.

— Josh Kurtz

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