Iowa’s most-popular Republican is girding for a re-election battle. Charles Grassley was first elected to the Senate in 1980, and easily won re-election in 1986, 1992 and 1998. With just over a year before the next election, no Iowa Democrat has come forward to challenge Grassley this time around. Grassley’s expecting a fight, though. Grassley says there’s probably a “stealth operation going on” with the Democratic candidate waiting to surface late in the game to catch him off-guard. Grassley says he’s taking steps to make sure he doesn’t get caught flat-footed.Grassley says he usually raises about two-and-a-half million dollars for a reelection battle. But since Senator Tom Harkin and his opponent spent a combined 14 million dollars last year, Grassley says he’s going to have to have a lot more than two-and-a-half million to either “scare off strong opposition” or compete with a Democrat who is known statewide. Grassley has four-point-two million in the bank today. In addition to the money sweepstakes, Grassley is directing the Iowa Republican Party to ramp up its effort to get G-O-P voters to cast absentee ballots. Grassley says his game plan is to do well enough to benefit Republican candidates up and down the ballot — including the man at the top of the ticket. Grassley says if Republican develop a program to use absentee ballots that’s as good as the one Democrats used with success in the last election, then President Bush could win Iowa. He says “short of that, we will fail.” Iowa hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate in 20 years, not since Ronald Reagan carried the state in 1984. .Grassley will convene a hearing in Dallas Center today to talk about federal taxation of co-ops. Grassley, as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, says it’s a topic he wants to tackle. Grassley, who’s chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, says the I-R-S has interpreted existing law in a way that’s detrimental to the cooperative movement, and he wants the law updated and clarified.Today’s Senate Finance Committee field hearing will be held at the Heartland Cooperatives in Dallas Center.
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