Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley says the decision by his colleague, Democrat Sen. Tom Harkin, to retire in 2014 hasn’t influenced his thinking about seeking a seventh term in 2016.
Although he didn’t declare his candidacy, Grassley says in a C-SPAN “Newsmakers” interview that will air at 9 a.m. Sunday that he plans to do everything necessary to get re-elected.
“So I’ll do the same things — go to all 99 counties as I have for 32 years, hold town meetings and have the resources to run,” he says, “and I’ll let you know in 2015.”
“My main concern and the main basis of any hope for re-election in the future, as it has been in the past, is to do the very best job you can as a U.S. senator, and if people recognize that they will elect you or re-elect you,” Grassley says.
Grassley also tells C-SPAN the choice of a conservative Republican and a liberal Democrat to represent them in the U.S. Senate for the past three decades is a testament to Iowans’ open-mindedness.
“If you are a sincere, hardworking political leader and don’t take extreme positions, you are apt to get respected for your view even if they don’t agree with you,” he says.
About the 2014 race – the first open-seat senatorial race in Iowa since 1974 — Grassley predicted the economy, health care and, to a lesser extent, gun rights will be issues.
“Unless the economy improves and you get unemployment down, it’s going to be the economy,” he predicts. “If it’s beyond the economy, I think health care might be an issue, because whatever Democrat runs, probably voted for it, and whatever Republican runs, didn’t vote for it.”
While gun rights are important to Iowans and they have a fear of gun control, Grassley said he doesn’t think it will be a major issue.
At all but two of the 11 meetings Grassley had around the state this year, gun issues came up, “and I didn’t find any support for the gun ban.”
“I’m telling you there is a lot of concern out there that may not be measured in these polls,” Grassley says. At church in Cedar Falls or at Sunday brunch at Village Inn, “people come up and kind of whisper in your ear, ‘Don’t let them take our guns away from us.’”
Still, he added, “gun issues aren’t talked about at most of our campaign events.”
That would change “if there is a lot of administrative action taken by this president.”
“Then the president could raise it to a big campaign issue,” he said.