The pressure is on Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, to run for reelection next year — and stave off Democrats efforts to win the state.
Republicans see his candidacy as a lock on the Senate seat, and hope to avoid another retirement after five incumbents announced they won’t run for reelection in the midterm, The Hill reported. Former President Donald Trump won the state by a more than 8-point margin.
“In Iowa, there’s not going to be a competitive race if Grassley seeks reelection,” one unnamed GOP consultant told The Hill. “To that extent, the Republican field is frozen until Grassley decides whether or not to run for reelection, in which case we’re going to be rushing to figure things out.”
In an interview on the conservative “Ruthless” podcast this week, Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said he’s “still bugging” both Grassley and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., to seek reelection.
“If you announce you’re running, that would be pretty helpful to me,” Scott said, adding he held a fundraiser alongside Grassley in Naples, Fla., and that “if he flies all the way from Iowa down to Naples, Fla., I think he's gonna run.”
An unnamed source told The Hill “all signs point to Grassley running for reelection,” noting that he’s been revving up his campaign team and raising money at a steady pace, garnering $625,000 in the second quarter of the year that gave him more than $2.5 million on hand for a reelection bid.
“He’s certainly acting like a senator running for reelection,” the source told The Hill. “The signs are that, yes, Sen. Grassley appears to be running. I don’t want to get ahead of anything, but that’s how we are operating.”
Grassley, 87, is expected to announce his decision in the fall, The Hill reported.
Former Iowa Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer announced her candidacy last week, and the NRSC pounced on it, denouncing her as “indistinguishable” from progressive in the party like Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.
“Iowa needs a true conservative leader like Chuck Grassley in the Senate, not somebody like Abby Finkenauer who will work to destroy Iowans’ livelihoods,” NRSC press secretary Katharine Cooksey said, The Hill reported.
Grassley won his last reelection bid in 2016 by a nearly 25-point margin over former Iowa Lt. Gov. Patty Judge, and he maintained relatively strong approval ratings throughout his 40-year career in the Senate.
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