Grassley wins eighth term in U.S. Senate
U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican, won election to his eighth term in the Senate on Tuesday, defeating Democratic challenger Mike Franken, according to the Associated Press.
When the race was called, Grassley led with about 56% of the vote. It was the closest race Grassley has won since he was first elected. He has routinely defeated his opponents by at least 20 percentage points.
“You and I want to preserve America,” Grassley told his supporters Tuesday night. “Tonight we celebrate freedom of thought, freedom of speech, open discourse and disagreement that our system allows, and independent expression, and the power that comes through the ballot box. The people have spoken tonight.”
He said the majority of voters want the country to have energy independence, enhanced border security, better support for law enforcement, and he alleged there is political bias in the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. That echoes the complaints of former President Donald Trump against agencies that have investigated him.
Grassley said Republicans will reduce federal spending: “We’ve been on a fast track to financial disaster. Now it will be a path back to fiscal sanity.”
Grassley has said his longevity in the Senate — about four decades — is one of the reasons he deserved to be reelected. But his age of 89 gave some voters pause.
“I know his age is an issue — and I did consider that — but I do like his direction,” said Renee Schon, a rural Glidden resident who voted Tuesday.
Republican voter Bob Pederson, 82, of Des Moines, said he voted for Grassley “because I think he’s done a good job. He’s been a lot more prominent and more active part of the Senate than most people know,” he said. He cited Grassley’s work on trucking deregulation under former President Jimmy Carter in the 1970s, an issue that was important to Pederson’s business.
Grassley is set to become the longest-serving senator and the second-highest ranking member of the chamber, president pro tem, if Republicans take the Senate. Further, he has predicted he would again be named chairman of the Judiciary Committee by his Republican colleagues if they have the majority.
In that role he helped block President Barack Obama’s third U.S. Supreme Court nominee late in his term and aided President Donald Trump’s three appointments. The new court majority in June overturned Roe v. Wade, the longstanding, landmark decision that established a right to abortion.
Grassley has expressed support for overturning that decision but has declined to take credit for it.
“You never know what they’re going to do,” Grassley has said of Supreme Court nominees he has supported. “You look at these people when you’re vetting them, when you’re questioning them, and you don’t know what they’re going to do down the road, and that applies to” the Roe decision.
He has said individual states should decide how to handle abortion. Gov. Kim Reynolds is now challenging an injunction in state district court that blocked the imposition of a 2018 law that would ban abortions in Iowa after six weeks of development. A decision is expected within weeks.
Franken, 65, is a retired U.S. Navy admiral who has been critical of Grassley’s position on abortion. Franken supports federal legislation that would reestablish a right to abortion countrywide.
But a former Franken campaign staffer alleged he kissed her without her permission, potentially undercutting his support from female voters. Franken has denied the incident, and the Des Moines Police Department did not charge him with a crime.
Polls have shown that the economy and inflation are top of mind for voters. Bob Hoyle, of Glidden, who voted Tuesday, said he supports Grassley, in part because high gasoline prices show there is a need for Republicans to take control of Congress.
Grassley raised about $10.2 million during this election cycle, compared with Franken’s $9.3 million, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
“We may have been competitors in this, but we are united in our effort to represent this state and the country we love,” Franken told his supporters as he conceded the election Tuesday night.