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Tom Harkin Won't Seek Re-Election

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CUMMING, Iowa -

Longtime Iowa US senator Tom Harkin announced Saturday that he will not be seeking re–election in 2014.

The 73–year–old Iowa Democrat who championed landmark legislation banning discrimination against people with disabilities, said after 40 years in Washington, "It is somebody else's turn."

Harkin said he by no means plans to retire from public life, but is going to make way for someone new in the senate and focus on spending time with his family.

Harkin said, "Ruth and I have often talked about doing certain things together and living our lives together in a way we have not been able to do, we have talked a lot about it but we have not been able to do it and we want to do it before it is to late."

He said that his biggest achievement was passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, a bipartisan measure he advocated on behalf of his brother, Frank, who was deaf. He was also a leading proponent of overhauling the nation's health care system.

The announcement from Harkin sets the stage for one of the most competitive Senate races in the country in the 2014 midterm elections. It will be a key contest in the Republican Party's quest to win control of the chamber from Democrats.