As Terry Branstad serves out his record-setting reign as governor, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said Thursday that he is having "serious" conversations about a run for the position.
Northey made his comments Thursday during a sit-down interview with the Iowa State Daily.
"We are having conversations...[it's] not something that needs to be decided yet," Northey said "There was a time [where] I would have just said...I was not interested. It was not something I felt that I was ready for or that I could contribute to.
"It's something we're in serious conversations with folks now," he said.
Northey, a Republican, has been secretary of agriculture in Iowa since 2007. He won a narrow race when first elected in 2006, but has easily been reelected in 2010 and 2014.
"When I came to this job, I just wanted to be secretary of agriculture, which was a pretty big deal and seemed like it was more than enough," he said Thursday. "As you get around it, there are lots of ways to make a postive difference. You're able to kind of understand what it takes and the kind of people that you need to have around you to be able take something like that on."
Northey said conversations are ongoing, but a final decision has yet to be made.
"There's a lot to putting a campaign together, to understanding what you bring and how to articulate that," he said. "We're doing the kinds of things that give us the option of potentially doing it without making that decision about doing it or not."
Branstad, who has been governor since 2010, also served four-terms from 1983 until 1999. Now in his sixth-term, Branstad is the longest serving governor in U.S. history.
Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett have been widely floated as potential replacements if Branstad decided to leave the position early or retire at the end of his term in 2018.
This is not the first time Northey has potentially said he would run. He told Iowa Public Television in April that he would make a decision in 2017 after the 2016 general election.