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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Sen. Chuck Grassley punched back at recent polling suggesting nearly two-thirds of Iowa voters think it’s time for a new face representing them in the U.S. Senate.
An Iowa Poll found that only a third of voters are ready to re-elect Grassley — who hasn’t said whether he will seek an eighth term in 2022. Sixty-four percent said it’s time for an unknown and unnamed “someone else” to replace the Republican senator.
“Let me let me challenge you just a little bit on your question,” Grassley said Wednesday when asked if his poll numbers suggest his relationship with Iowa voters has changed since he was first elected to the Senate in 1980.
“I’ve got the best numbers of anyone in Iowa,” Grassley said, pointing to his favorability rating — 50 percent approval and 37 percent disapproval — “of everybody that you’ve taken a poll on.”
Despite his apparent satisfaction with those numbers, Iowa’s senior senator is in no rush to share his plans.
“A year’s long enough to campaign,” he said, explaining he will announce his plans known “in September, October, no later than early November.”
He’s less concerned what the polls say than he is with what Iowans tell him at his 99 county meetings each year where “sometimes I bring up to them whether or not I should run.”
“So none of this stuff goes over my head,” Grassley said. “But I can't concentrate on that. I’ve got to concentrate on my job.”
And he has plenty to keep him busy from when he arrives at his office at 6 a.m. most mornings until he leaves the Capitol after 6 p.m. most days.
In addition to an upcoming Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on anti-competitive practices in the meatpacking industry, Grassley said he’s meeting with House and Senate Democrats this week on prescription drug prices.
“So I've got plenty of work to do here in Washington, D.C., and I'm not too worried about what any polls say about my re-election or whether I should even be a candidate,” Grassley said.
Neither did he want to speculate on whether his grandson, Iowa House Speaker Pat Grassley, would run for his seat if he chooses not to seek re-election.
“He's got his hands full being speaker of the House even when the session isn't going,” the senator said. “If you want a better answer, then I just guess you better speak to Pat himself.”
The younger Grassley has demurred to repeated questions about his likelihood of seeking to succeed his grandfather.
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