Rob Hogg (file photo)

Rob Hogg (file photo)

A state senator has taken a preliminary step toward a likely run the U.S. Senate in 2016 — for the seat currently held by Republican Chuck Grassley.

“I’ve been seriously thinking about this since the end of the legislative session,” says Democrat Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids. “One of the reasons I made this step is I need to see if I can be in a competitive situation, a race.”

Hogg has formed an exploratory committee, a move that allows Hogg to begin raising money as he enters the first phase of the campaign.

“The reason I’m thinking about running for the U.S. Senate is because our country badly needs congress to work better,” Hogg says.

Hogg, who has been told he’ll have to raise millions of dollars to sustain a campaign, says he does not have specific fundraising “litmus test” but will decide within two to four months if he can be in a “competitive” position.

“Our political system, our campaign system is really quite broken as a country. Money shouldn’t be a hurdle like that,” Hogg says. “…I can understand the need to want to see if people can raise some money, but we shouldn’t put those kind of monetary barriers in front of people who want to run.”

Hogg is an attorney who recently traveled the state to promote a book he wrote about climate change.

“I’m going to put myself out here over the next few months and see how Iowans react,” Hogg says.

Senator Grassley announced in 2013 that he would seek reelection in 2016. Hogg, who is 48 years old, says he has “a high level of respect for Grassley.”

“He has served our state and our country honorably since he was first elected to the Iowa legislature I think it was in 1958. You know, he’s been in the United States Congress for over 40 years. He has served Iowa well, but I do think Iowans will agree we need new leadership if we’re going to get congress to work better and if we’re going to fix our broken political system.”

Hogg, who describes himself as a fourth generation Iowan, has been a member of the Iowa legislature since 2003. Two other Democrats are also seeking their party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2016. Both Bob Krause and Tom Fiegan also ran for the Senate in 2010, but lost to party nominee Roxanne Conlin in the primary.