Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Leave Him Alone, Grassley's Running for Reelection for Now

Yesterday, Senate Guru posted an article at Bleeding Heartland about the possibility of Sen. Grassley deciding to retire instead of run for reelection in 2010.

On Election Day 2010, Chuck Grassley will be 77 years old. If Grassley ran for and won another term, he would be 83 years old at the conclusion of that term. Grassley has a wife (his marriage to whom will celebrate its 55th anniversary in September) and five children, so who knows how many grandchildren. Grassley has been an elected official for fifty years (Iowa state House 1959-1974; U.S. House 1975-1981; U.S. Senate 1981-present). After having spent more than half a century as both an elected official and a family man, I don't think anyone would be surprised if he opted to give all of his time and energy to the latter designation after giving so much to the former.

I would imagine that spending your day playing with your grandchildren is a lot more enjoyable than spending your day waking up at 5am to catch a shuttle from Des Moines to Washington in order to take votes you know your caucus will lose, unable to make any progress on your desired agenda, and then staying up until midnight with policy meetings, political fundraisers, and personal fundraising calls that will all be in vain anyway given the relative weakness of your caucus' minority.

Well, today Senate Guru posted a follow up after he received an email from Grassley's communications director.
My column yesterday on the prospect of Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley retiring must have touched a nerve because I received an e-mail from none other than Chuck Grassley's Communications Director noting:
Senator Grassley has held eight fundraisers since election day, and another 10 are scheduled. Like he's always said when asked by Iowa reporters and others, Senator Grassley is running for re-election in 2010.

First, I'd like to thank Senator Grassley's staff for reading the Guru. Second, while this is indeed a retirement denial, it is worth noting that, for instance, in the 2008 cycle, former Senator Pete Domenici conducted fundraising as though he would run for re-election, including a fundraiser with George W. Bush on the books as late as August 2007, before announcing his impending retirement in October 2007. The point: you're always running for re-election until you're not. Grassley has plenty of time to decide. In the meantime, though, he's fundraising and preparing as though he will run again because, well, that's the appropriate thing to do to scare off potential challengers and keep his options open.

John Deeth disagrees that family will keep Grassley from running again. Deeth thinks, just the opposite, Grassley will run again because of his family.
What Senate Guru misses is that one of those grandchildren is exactly why Grassley will NOT retire in 2010.

As the Legislature convenes today, Rep. Pat Grassley starts his second term at age 25. He's too young to take over for Grandpa next year... but in 2016, assuming all goes according to plan, Pat's got a decade of legislative experience under his belt at age 33.
I think this will be the political campaign story of 2008 in the state of Iowa. Yes, there's a race for Governor in 2010, but a Grassley retirement would shake everything up.

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