Retiring Senator hosts Steak Fry for Mid-Term Elections

Retiring Senator hosts Steak Fry for Mid-Term Elections

Antonio Scott, Reporter

On Sunday, September 14, 2014, retiring Iowa Democratic Senator Tom Hawkin hosted his 37th annual Steak Fry to fundraise and campaign for Iowa Democrats toward the 2014 mid-term elections.

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin is not seeking re-election in 2014. The 73-year-old told The Associated Press in an interview, “It’s just time to step aside,” because by the time he would finish a sixth term, he would be 81. Harkin said it would also allow a new generation of Democrats to seek higher office.

Harkin played a lead role in urging the Senate’s liberal members to back Obama’s health care bill. No Iowa Republicans have taken formal steps toward taking the seat. Harkin’s decision eases the burden on the Republicans, who have to gain six seats to win the majority.

First held on a farm in Madison County, Iowa, the Harkin Steak Fry has become a signature political event in Iowa. Past special guests have included Barack Obama, Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore, Senators Paul Wellstone, Al Franken and Bernie Sanders, Governor Martin O’Malley, now U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and all of the major Democratic presidential candidates in 2003 and 2007.

Senator Harkin’s last Steak Fry featured both Bill and Hillary Clinton as speakers. The 42nd President of the United States attended his fourth Steak Fry, the Former Secretary of State her second.

Senator Hawkin released these statements regarding his last steak fry: “Not only will this be my last Steak Fry, we’ll also need to rally our troops for outstanding, progressive Iowa champions on the ballot this Fall – all of whom have tough races, all of which we need to win!” “That’s why I couldn’t be happier than to share this special day with two such close friends. They have contributed so much good, inspiring leadership to this country for many years, and I am sure they will continue to do so in the years ahead.” “What started out nearly 40 years ago as a handful of interested Iowans sitting around on hay bales, discussing politics, has grown to be an iconic gathering. This year’s Steak Fry just might be the best ever.”

Hillary Clinton used her return to the home of the nation’s kickoff presidential contest Sunday primarily to advocate for Democrats on the ballot in the homestretch of the 2014 midterms. But she also couldn’t resist hinting at the prospects of her own White House campaign in 2016.

Clinton made at least three references to another presidential run in her speech at the steak fry. “Hello Iowa, I’m back,” Clinton shouted as she took the podium.

It was her first visit to the Hawkeye State since her failed 2008 presidential campaign, when she finished third in the state’s caucuses behind then Senator Barack Obama and former Senator John Edwards.