Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, the oldest Republican in the Senate, announced early Friday morning that he would run for re-election to serve an eighth term in the Senate.
“It’s 4 a.m. in Iowa so I’m running. I do that 6 days a week. Before I start the day I want you to know what Barbara and I have decided. I’m running for re-election—a lot more to do, for Iowa. We ask and will work for your support. Will you join us?” he announced via Grassley Works, a Twitter account affiliated with the senator.
He also put out a brief video announcing his run, call it “the right thing to do for Iowa.”
The Republican senator, who recently turned 88, later tweeted out from his personal account that “Iowa needs strong and effective leadership” and that he still had a lot of work left to be done. Throughout his career in the Senate, which began in 1980, Grassley has chaired key committees like the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he is currently the ranking member.
According to the Daily Iowan, Grassley said that his priorities during this election cycle are “working to lower the cost of prescription drugs, give independent cattle producers a fair market, secure the border, protect the renewable fuel standard, and hold the government accountable to the people.”
The Des Moines Register reported that Grassley officially started campaigning on Friday. He made a stop to speak with law enforcement officers.
“I do feel better about it,” Grassley said. “I took longer this time than ever before in the six or seven re-elections I’ve had. I just thought I should, and I did. And I’m happy with the decision I’ve made. My wife and kids are happy. I hope the people of Iowa will be happy.”
The Register also reported that Grassley was praying about whether or not to run again, during a period of time when there had been speculation about whether the eldest Republican statesmen would retire.
Grassley also told reporters that he believes he has done a good job as senator.
“That’s what I’ve always done, and I want to continue doing that — serving the people of Iowa and being their senator,” Grassley said. “Doing a good job of that is the best advertisement you can do of why you should be reelected.”
Abby Finkenauer, a Democratic challenger and former lawmaker, has called Grassley a “coastal elite.”
“Over his nearly five decades in Congress, Iowa has lost over 30,000 family farms, our jobs have been shipped overseas, and decade after decade our rural communities have been hollowed out with our young people leaving in droves as he stood on the sideline,” Finkenauer said in a statement.
One recent Iowa poll shows him with a lead of 18 points over Finkenauer.