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Steve King mulling run for governor

Steve King mulling run for governor
© Greg Nash

Rep. Steve King (R), a conservative hardliner and immigration hawk, told The Hill on Wednesday that he's thinking about running for governor of Iowa.

King said he just got off the phone with longtime Iowa Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, whom multiple reports say President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats slide in battle for Senate Trump believes Kushner relationship with Saudi crown prince a liability: report Christine Blasey Ford to be honored by Palo Alto City Council MORE is expected to name U.S. ambassador to China.

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King, a frequent thorn in the side of GOP leadership in Washington, called the conversation "private." But he appeared excited over the news that the governor's office would be opening up.

"The thought is in my mind. Immediately, it locks in there," King said in the interview when asked if he would run. "But I don't want to send any message that I'm making plans actively."

It would still be a difficult race for King. Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, also a Republican, would fill the remainder of Branstad's term and would be the incumbent governor heading into the 2018 primary election.