DES MOINES (AP) — The scrum of Iowa Republicans running for U.S. Senate likely will grow even larger Tuesday when a former energy company executive is expected to enter the race.
Mark Jacobs, 51, a former chief executive officer of Texas-based Reliant Energy is holding a series of events around the state to share his plans regarding the 2014 Senate race. Jacobs, who lives in West Des Moines, has been exploring a run for months and is backed by some business-focused Republicans, including Des Moines lawyer Doug Gross.
So far, no clear leader has emerged in the crowded GOP Senate field. The Republicans seeking to succeed retiring Democrat Tom Harkin include radio host Sam Clovis, state Sen. Joni Ernst, lawyer Paul Lunde, former car salesman Scott Schaben, former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker and former Senate aide David Young.
U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley of Waterloo is the only Democrat running.
Most of the state's Republican office-holders opted out of the race, opening the doors for the lesser-known candidates. Jacobs, who declined to be interviewed before Tuesday, has a business background and personal wealth that could make him a formidable candidate.
"He stands out because of his ability to finance his campaign and for his background of a very successful business career," said Darrell Kearney, finance director for the Polk County GOP.
The other GOP candidates in the race have not posted huge fundraising totals thus far, collectively raising less than $1 million during the last fundraising quarter, from July through September. Meanwhile, Braley is sitting on more than $2 million, with no competitive primary.
An Iowa native, Jacobs moved his family to his home state last year and founded an education nonprofit. He has spent the past few months attending county events and meeting with voters and has sent out at least one glossy mailer to tell voters about his Iowa roots and family history.