Energy CEO announces Iowa Senate bid

Former Reliant Energy CEO Mark Jacobs (R) is officially running for the Senate, his campaign announced Tuesday morning, giving Republicans a potentially strong candidate for retiring Sen. Tom Harkin's (D-Iowa) seat.

Jacobs, a retired energy executive who recently returned to his home state of Iowa after spending years in Texas, touted his business experience and connections to the state.

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"I've spent the majority of my life in the business world and Iowa values have been at the core of everything I've done. They've guided me through some tough situations, like helping to bring a company back from the brink of bankruptcy. It is these skills and lessons that will enable me to best represent Iowa and make a positive change in Washington," he said in a statement.

"The problem with Washington is not a lack of ideas, but a lack of results," he continued. "To actually address the dysfunction and serious challenges facing this great nation, Washington needs a leader with serious solutions and a fresh perspective."

The businessman has the ability to self-fund, which could give him a boost in a crowded primary field that also includes Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst (R), former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker (R), David Young (R), a former chief of staff to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and conservative radio host Sam Clovis (R).

If no candidate reaches 35 percent in next spring's primary, the winner will be chosen by a party convention, which has some Republicans worried activists could pick a too-conservative candidate. Democrats have rallied around Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa).

Jacobs has been considering a run for months. Sources told The Hill last week that he would announce his campaign. 

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