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  Vilsack would consider another White House run
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ContributorAngry Russian 
Last EditedAngry Russian  May 21, 2012 06:55am
Logged 1 [Older]
CategorySpeculative
AuthorChristopher Doering
MediaNewspaper - Des Moines Register
News DateTuesday, May 8, 2012 05:45:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionAfter a steady rise from mayor to Cabinet secretary in Washington, Tom Vilsack speaks like a man who’s come to grips with the fact his successful political career could be nearing its end.

Vilsack, 61, said in an interview he’s not interested in running for office unless he were to try again for the presidency or were asked to be vice president.

“You can’t run for president today; four years from now there’s a lot that could happen,” he said.

Vilsack ruled out another stint as Iowa governor, as well as a bid for a U.S. Senate seat. He said his time in the political arena has led him to realize he’s better suited as an executive overseeing an entity like a state or Cabinet department rather than working on the legislative side of politics crafting laws.

Despite those sentiments, Dennis Goldford, a political science professor at Drake University, said Vilsack is among a small number of Democrats, including incumbent Sen. Tom Harkin, to win his last major statewide race in Iowa. That makes Vilsack a logical top candidate for a Senate run, Goldford said.

Speculation abounds in Iowa about who will eventually replace the state’s two veteran U.S. senators. Harkin, 72, faces re-election in 2014. Iowa’s other senator, Chuck Grassley, 78, is up for re-election in 2016.

Goldford said of Vilsack: “He would have to be considered a contender if he’s interested. You can’t hurt yourself being secretary of agriculture in Washington in Iowa. It certainly helps to increase your ability to say that I understand Iowa from both a state perspective and from a federal perspective.”

When Vilsack speaks to agricultural groups around the country, he enjoys telling the story of his ascent into the political arena.

After graduating from law school, he moved to Mount Pleasant — wife Christie’s hometown — where he practiced law. He was first elected mayor of Mount Pleasant in southeastern Iowa in 1987 before narrowly winning a post to the Io
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