iowa-senate-2016

Democrats Goading Grassley

Judge has been in Washington meeting with Democrats, who are targeting Grassley anew. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Charles E. Grassley is an institution in Iowa, and started the year a prohibitive favorite to win a seventh term. But as the point man for blocking consideration of a Supreme Court nominee, the Republican is getting some concerted needling from Democrats determined to paint him as the poster boy of congressional obstructionism.  

They are even bringing in one of Grassley's potential opponents to the Capitol to help make that point.  

Grassley Not Too Concerned About New Challenge

Grassley faces a new challenge from Former Iowa Lt. Gov. Patty Judge. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As Iowa's former lieutenant governor prepares to challenge Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley in his re-election bid, the long-time senator says he is not concerned.  

The New York Times reported that former Lt. Gov. Patty Judge is expected to announce this weekend that she is joining the field of Democrats vying to take on Grassley.  

Going Full Grassley on the Iowa Caucuses

Kasich, left, and Grassley address a rally at the National Czech & Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

WATERLOO, Iowa — Republican candidates learn a lot on the trail when they're competing in Iowa's first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses. Along with the sanctity of ethanol and the primacy of pork products, they eventually grasp this is Sen. Charles E. Grassley's state. When you run for president here, at some point, Iowa's senior senator will appear alongside you, and everyone knows who he is.  

"I didn't know Grassley was going to show up," said Bill Davidson, a bartender at The Supervisors Club, where the senator was introducing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Davidson sounded impressed, as if the event, being repeated over and over throughout the state in the run-up to Monday's caucuses, had been elevated.  

2016 Prospects Encouraged to Do the 'Full Grassley' in Iowa

Walker greets guests before Ernst's motorcycle ride on June 6 near Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Sen. Joni Ernst's motorcycle ride and barbecue got most of the attention last weekend as Republican presidential candidates descended on Iowa, but the state's senior senator spent plenty of time with the presidential prospects as well.  

Sen. Charles E. Grassley isn't expected to have any trouble winning a seventh term, but he's taking nothing for granted. He told Roll Call last week he anticipates making appearances with other candidates and said there would be more fundraisers for his own political efforts.  

Grassley Strives for Seventh Term, Always Wanting More

Grassley does a 99-county tour every year in Iowa. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 9:35 a.m. | He has never won re-election with less than 64 percent of the vote. His approval rating is 67 percent .  

This is not some senator from a deep red or deep blue state. He is, in fact, a Republican representing a swing state in a presidential year, and Democrats would quite like to unseat him.  

Senators Confirm Re-Election Bids for 2016

Vitter has announced a bid for governor, leaving the future of his Senate seat in flux in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The 2016 cycle could feature the fewest open Senate seats in at least a decade.  

Of the 34 senators facing re-election next year, just one has announced retirement . A CQ Roll Call survey of the entire Senate class showed only one more senator publicly undecided about re-election, plus three additional senators considering bids for other offices. Two more Senate offices did not return requests for comment on re-election plans, though Democrats are near certain one of them — Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., will seek another term.  

Grassley Preps 2016 Re-Election

Grassley talks on the phone in his Hart Building office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Charles E. Grassley doesn't plan to be caught flat-footed if he faces a competitive, expensive re-election battle in 2016.  

In a Wednesday interview with CQ Roll Call, the Iowa Republican said he began work on his campaign last year, and there will be more involvement from the national party than in his past efforts, given the exploding costs of campaigns. "I suppose early on, you spend your time on funding the campaign more than on organization, probably working very closely with the NRSC, more so than I have in the past because of the sophistication of campaigning now and the massive amount of money you have to raise compared to what you used to have to have," Grassley said. "The days of cheap campaigns are over."