Chuck Grassley is usually an early riser.
Every day at 4 a.m., whether he’s at his Washington, D.C., apartment while the Senate is in session or on his New Hartford-area farm, he gets up to run a few miles before he starts his day.
At 4 a.m. Friday, he got up to announce he’s making another run. He will seek his eighth term as one of Iowa’s two U.S. senators in the 2022 election, ending a months-long speculation on whether he would retire after 42 years in the upper chamber.
“It’s 4 a.m. in Iowa so I’m running,” Grassley said on his campaign Twitter page, @GrassleyWorks. “I do that 6 days a week. Before I start the day I want to let you know what Barbara and I decided.
“I’m running for re-election — a lot more to do, for Iowa.”
Grassley, 88, was first elected to the Senate by defeating single-term Sen. John Culver in 1980. He had previously served the then-3rd Congressional District for three terms. Prior to going to Washington, Grassley was in the Iowa House for 16 years, first voted into the Legislature in 1958 and serving until his election to Congress in 1974.
Grassley has served several roles in Senate leadership, including three stints as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and most recently as president pro-tempore of the Senate from 2019 until January of this year, when the Senate went into a 50-50 split following two run-off Senate elections in Georgia won by Democrats and with Vice President Kamala Harris’ inauguration.
Grassley may be facing a primary challenge next June. State Sen. Jim Carlin, R-Sioux City, had announced last winter that he would run for the seat and had told reporters previously that he would not drop out if Grassley would run.
The senator is expected to face former 1st District Rep. Abby Finkenauer, a Democrat from Dubuque who served one term in the U.S. House. In a statement, the 32-year-old challenger said that Grassley “has changed from an Iowa farmer to just another coastal elite” following his time in the Capitol.
“Iowa has lost over 30,000 family farms, our jobs have been shipped overseas, and decade after decade our rural communities have been hollowed out with our young people leaving in droves as he stood on the sideline,” Finkenauer said in the statement released Friday morning. “Meanwhile, Sen. Grassley and his friends in the D.C. elite got richer while working families were left behind. Now, he’s running yet again on an agenda that puts big pharma over our seniors, Wall Street over workers, and monopoly corporations over the mom and pop small businesses that make Iowa strong.”
Iowa Democratic Party chairman Ross Wilburn issued a statement Friday, stating that the New Hartford Republican has changed from being a political independent to being more partisan.
“Chuck didn’t think working families deserved the Child Tax Credit, he voted against a bipartisan investigation into the deadly attack on the U.S Capitol, and he flip-flopped to get Trump’s nominee on the U.S. Supreme Court,” Wilburn said in the statement. “He’s turned into the typical Washington politician he claims to despise. Chuck now faces his lowest approval ratings heading into a campaign because Iowans know he stopped working for them a long time ago.”
But the National Republican Senate Committee, the organization that tries to vote GOP members into the Senate nationwide, sang Grassley’s praises while giving him its endorsement in a statement Friday.
“Across Iowa’s 99 counties, the name ‘Chuck Grassley’ is synonymous with hard work,” wrote chairman Rick Scott. “Chuck wakes up each morning – a bit earlier than most to run – thinking about how he can fight to ensure Iowa continues to be a great place for farmers, families, and job creators to succeed for generations. Chuck Grassley always puts Iowa first.”