Hinting that he will seek another term, U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said he will not be swayed by polling that shows most Iowans, including a third of Iowa Republicans, hope he does not run in 2022.
“You don’t make a decision to run based upon anything other than taking your work into consideration, taking your family into consideration and visiting with a lot of Iowans,” Grassley told Iowa reporters Wednesday on a weekly conference call.
A Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll released last week found just 28% of 775 Iowa adults surveyed hope the 87-year-old decides to seek an eighth term, and 55% said they hope he does not. Another 17% of those surveyed were unsure.
Grassley’s job approval and favorability number also declined among Iowans to its lowest point in nearly four decades, according to the poll.
Of those Iowans polled, 48% said they approved of the way he has handled his job as U.S. senator, while 38% disapproved. The approval rating is Grassley’s lowest since 1982.
“Since then, he’s enjoyed approval ratings that have reached ‘stratospheric’ heights ... occasionally hitting 80% or higher,” according to the Des Moines Register.
Grassley brushed off the poll results, pointing to previous, similar polls that showed Iowans were divided over whether longtime former state Gov. Terry Branstad should seek re-election in 2013. Branstad ended up coasting to a historic sixth term.
Asked what his considerations would be if he chose not to run for another term, Grassley said, “if that’s a decision I’ve made, you’d know it by now.”
“So this is speculation, and I’m not going to speculate about anything,” he said.
Grassley, who has served in elected office continuously since 1959 when he joined the Iowa Legislature, has filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission for the 2022 election, but declined to say whether he is running for re-election. He would be 95 at the end of another six-year term.
In February, he said he was several weeks away from announcing his decision, and Wednesday reiterated that he would wait until the fall to announce his intentions.
Asked about the rising number of children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, Grassley criticized Democratic President Joe Biden, saying his support for immigration legislation and the decision to allow people to make legal asylum claims have made the United States a magnet for migrants.
“We are a very inviting nation when it comes to immigration,” Grassley said. “We have about 1 million people come every year to this country legally. But, we shouldn’t invite people to break our laws to come this country, and when you don’t have a secure border that happens. And we didn’t even have a 100% secure border under Trump, but we have a more secure border than what we have now in the last two months. And it’s creating a terrible problem.”
Grassley said the “worst thing is for our government to send a signal that, ‘Wait a minute. We aren’t quite ready for you yet. But, when you are, you can come.’”