Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley held his first fundraiser last night in West Des Moines to kick off his 2016 reelection campaign. Grassley, a Republican, is seeking a seventh term. One reason Grassley says he’d like to remain in Washington D.C. is the fact his party now has a majority of seats in the U.S. Senate.
“We anticipated that would happen,” Grassley says, “and being chairman of a committee, I’m in a position to show more leadership, not just through the Judiciary Committee but being fourth in seniority of 100 senators, I think, gives me some opportunity to push.” Grassley first took office in 1959 when he was elected to the Iowa House and has served in public office ever since. He was elected to the U.S. House in 1975 and was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1980.
Grassley is now 81 years old and if elected to another term, he would be 89 when that term is up. He’s currently the second-oldest member of the Senate. I don’t have a right to serve a seventh term,” Grassley says. “I hold a public trust and from time to time, every six years, you have to renew that trust. If the people continue to have trust in me, I will serve a seventh term and if they don’t, then obviously, I’ll retire.”
Shortly after Senator Tom Harkin announced in 2013 that he would not run again, Grassley said he would seek reelection because he didn’t want to leave Iowa with two junior senators just two years apart. He says that remains as a primary reason he’s seeking reelection now. Grassley says, “Public service is an honorable thing and if I can be helpful to the people of Iowa, particularly in transition while Iowa has a new senator, then I think that’s helpful.”
Republican Joni Ernst of Red Oak was elected last year to fill the seat that had been held by Democrat Harkin. Grassley says Ernst has “really picked up the ball quickly,” adding, “she’s off to a very good start, but it still hasn’t changed my mind about running for reelection.”