Veteran Sen. Chuck Grassley announced early Friday he’ll be running for an eighth term in office in the upcoming midterm elections in a move that will head off a contentious primary in Iowa to find his replacement.
The 88-year-old Republican made his announcement at 4 a.m. Central Daylight Time in a tweet that also stressed his exercise routine, reports Politico.
“It’s 4 a.m. in Iowa so I’m running. I do that 6 days a week,” Grassley said in the post. “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.”
Grassley won his last reelection bid in 2016 by 25 points, and his announcement will make it more likely Republicans will seek the Iowa seat during next year’s midterm. He will most likely face former Democrat Rep. Abby Finkenauer in the general election next year.
Republican Party leaders have been pressing Grassley to seek another term in office, and if reelected he will return to his spot as a key fixture, whether or not Republicans retake the chamber.
Grassley currently serves as the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he chaired when Republicans blocked former President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, current Attorney General Merrick Garland.
The senator also presided over the committee during the confirmation of former President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Justice Brett Kavanaugh. In addition, while Trump was president, Grassley was in the line of presidential succession as the most senior Republican senator, notes Politico.
Grassley has remained quiet for months about his reelection plans while Republicans nationally were urging him to run, reports The Hill. He’s scheduled to appear in several campaign events on Friday and to make an appearance on Saturday with Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, who is also seeking reelection.
Polls are mixed on Grassley. On Tuesday, a Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa poll showed that the veteran senator, even before he officially announced his intentions, was ahead of Finkenauer by 55% to 37%.
However, a separate Des Moines Register/Mediacom survey, released in June, showed that 64% of people in Iowa believe it was time for someone else to take Grassley’s seat. That poll, however, didn’t name any specific candidates to replace him.