Iowa GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley will run for eighth term

Former Rep. Abby Finkenauer is among the Democrats running against Grassley, who leads in early polls

Iowa GOP Sen. Charles E. Grassley announced he will run for reelection.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Iowa GOP Sen. Charles E. Grassley announced he will run for reelection. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted September 24, 2021 at 9:13am

Longtime Iowa GOP Sen. Charles E. Grassley announced early Friday morning he will run for an eighth term in the Senate, giving Republicans one fewer open-seat race to navigate in 2022. 

Five Senate Republicans so far have decided not to run for reelection. Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, had said he would decide whether to run or retire this fall. 

“Serving Iowans in the United States Senate is a tremendous honor. I’m working as hard as ever for the people of Iowa and there’s more work to do,” Grassley, who is known for his early morning runs, said in a statement sent at 4 a.m. CST.

“In a time of crisis and polarization, Iowa needs strong, effective leadership,” Grassley said. “I’m focused on serving the people of Iowa as your senator and fighting for policies that will make Iowa an even better place to raise a family and grow a business.”

Grassley, who is 88 years old, was first elected to the Senate in 1980 after serving three terms in the House. But his campaign schedule demonstrated that he is not slowing down. A press release announcing his decision listed four Saturday campaign events. 

Multiple Democrats have filed to run against Grassley, including former 1st District Rep. Abby Finkenauer, who lost her race for a second term in 2020 after flipping a GOP-held district in 2018. When she launched her campaign in July, she took aim at Grassley and referenced the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol. 

Finkenauer responded to Grassley’s announcement Friday by knocking his decades in the Senate, accusing him of becoming “just another D.C. politician who can’t let go of power and turned his back on families like mine.”

“After 47 years in Washington, D.C., Chuck Grassley has changed from an Iowa farmer to just another coastal elite,” she said. “Now, he’s running yet again on an agenda that puts big pharma over our seniors, Wall Street over workers, and monopoly corporations over the mom and pop small businesses that make Iowa strong.”

A Des Moines Register poll released earlier this week showed Finkenauer initially trailing Grassley. Fifty-five percent of the likely voters surveyed said they supported Grassley, while 37 percent backed Finkenauer, and 7 percent did not know who they would support.

Democrats have struggled to win statewide in Iowa in recent election cycles. After Barack Obama won the state in 2008 and 2012, Donald Trump carried it in the next two election cycles. The former president won Iowa by 8 points in 2020. While Democrats believed last year’s Senate race would be competitive, GOP Sen. Joni Ernst ultimately defeated Democrat Theresa Greenfield by 7 points.

Iowa is not one of the eight states that Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates as Senate battlegrounds.