Republican Matt Whitaker says he will make his official announcement to enter the U.S. Senate race on June 3. He is the first Republican to declare his intentions for the seat currently held by Democrat Tom Harkin. Whitaker, appearing on Simon Conway’s WHO Radio’s program Monday, said he will file official paperwork with the Federal Election Commission and launch a campaign website by the end of this week.
“This is going to be a big election about big ideas,” Whitaker said. “But do not think for a moment that our folks on the other side, the Democrats and the Braley campaign, are not going to try to meddle and interfere and otherwise try to effect the outcome of the primary. But they have to defend their record. They have to defend the Affordable Care Act. They have to defend Cash for Clunkers. They have to defend the stimulus and the bailouts and everything else.”
Whitaker grew up in Ankeny and played college football for the Iowa Hawkeyes, earning Academic All-American honors in 1992. He later became a U.S. Attorney and is now in private practice.
Matt Whitaker had talked openly about his desire to enter the race for the last few weeks, but wanted to wait for Congressman Steve King to make a decision regarding a run. After King opted out on Friday night, Whitaker decided to opt in. He suggested holding a Republican primary debate in all 99 Iowa counties, or at least as many as possible.
“Let’s talk about the issues,” he said. “I’m ready to do that and I know common sense solutions are going to win the day in this. Iowa Republican primary voters want to know who can stand toe-to-toe with Bruce Braley and defend the things we believe in. I think I’m qualified to do that and I think I’m the person for that.”
This will not be Matt Whitaker’s first foray into politics. He ran for state treasurer in 2002. Whitaker also served as the state chairman for Tim Pawlenty and Rick Perry during the 2012 caucus cycle. Despite those ties, Whitaker indicated that he running as an outsider who will be an independent voice in the U.S. Senate, in the mode of Rand Paul and Ted Cruz.
Whitaker says his family supports the decision to run for the U.S. Senate and he will spend as much time as possible over the next month before the campaign consume most of his time and energy.
“They understand, as I do, the challenges we face as country and as a state and they’re going to help those dad try to go to Washington, D.C. and fix them, as an outsider, as a non-politician and someone who has a lifetime of fighting for what is right,” Whitaker said.
Whitaker served as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa from 2005-2009. While in that role, he managed a staff of 60 and oversaw offices in Des Moines, Davenport and Council Bluffs. Now in private practice, Whitaker says he will not change who he is or what he stands for to win this race. His first campaign proposal is to insure no law passes without stating its constitutional foundation.
“The federal government is too big, too complex and taxes are too high,” Whitaker said. “I plan to go to Washington and tirelessly find the savings. There’s waste, fraud and abuse in the system. I fought for Iowans when I was U.S. Attorney to get rid of some of that waste, fraud and abuse. The prosecution of the CIETC matter is one example of that. So, I have experience doing this, investigating this and I’m going to use that experience to hopefully bring down spending in the federal government.”
It looks like Matt Whitaker will soon have some company in the Republican primary field. While Whitaker was still on-the-air with WHO’s Simon Conway, state Senator Joni Ernst sent out a press release stating she is considering a run for the seat currently occupied by Tom Harkin. Ernst told TheIowaRepublican.com recently that is was likely she would run for the U.S. Senate if Congressman King decided not to.
You can hear Whitaker’s entire segment on the Simon Conway show by clicking here.
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