OSSIAN, Iowa — Chuck Grassley still gets up at 4 a.m. every day and often goes for a 2-mile run. The 87-year-old does push-ups, too.
“You want me to do 35 for you?” he responded when asked about his regimen as he waited for a burger at Bambino’s, a haunt in this town of about 800 people.
The challenge sounds like something out of the classic “Seinfeld” episode in which the elderly Mandelbaum family taunts Jerry to prove his physical prowess. But Grassley’s longevity is no joke. It could be the ticket to an eighth term in the Senate — and change the midterm landscape.
If Grassley does seek reelection, Republicans and many Democrats concede the seat is essentially safe. If he doesn’t, the GOP’s road to the majority gets that much harder.
The most senior GOP senator says he’ll deliberateuntil the fall. He’s a conservative who can work with Democrats on a handful of issues, like criminal justice reform and drug prices, while executing brutal partisan power plays to fill the federal bench with conservatives. He’s held public office since 1959 and served in the Senate since 1981, including two years in the presidential line of succession.
Any Republican could retire and be proud of that kind of career. But Grassley might not be ready to call it quits.
“Listen, there’s nothing I see that’s going to keep me from serving another six years if I decide to do it,” he says during a swing through northeast Iowa as part of his annual 99 County Tour. “I just work from day to day. God will take care of tomorrow.”
And after five GOP retirements this cycle, Grassley is under pressure to save his party from defending yet another open seat as it labors to retake the majority.
“He’s getting a lot of encouragement,” said Senate Minority Whip John Thune. “He is the best path we have to keep the seat in Republican hands and take it off the map.”
Read the full article HERE