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Iowa's Harkin says he won't pursue a 6th term in Senate

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Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, on Thursday said the GOP proposal to deal with an impending rise in student loan rates was worse for students than no bill at all.

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By The Associated Press
Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, 8:20 p.m.

CUMMING, Iowa — Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said on Saturday that he won't seek a sixth term in 2014.

His decision eases some of the burden that the Republican Party faces in retaking the Senate.

The chairman of the influential Senate committee cited his age.

“I just think it's time for me to step aside,” said Harkin, 73.

His retirement will give Republicans a much better chance at winning his seat. Iowa remains a swing state at the national level, but Harkin won with relative ease in recent years. He won the seat in 1984.

“Today's announcement by Sen. Harkin immediately vaults Iowa into the top tier of competitive Senate races next year,” said Rob Collins, executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Harkin long has aligned with the Senate's more liberal members. His signature accomplishment is the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. He pushed for President Obama's health care overhaul.

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