Grassley unswayed by latest polling, hints he will run in 2022

Hinting that he will seek another term, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said he will not be swayed by recent polling that shows a majority of Iowans, including a third of Iowa Republicans, hope he decides not to seek another term 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 new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll released last week found just 28 percent of 775 Iowa adults surveyed hope the 87-year-old decides to seek an eighth term, and 55 percent said they hope he does not. Another 17 percent 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 percent said they approved of the way he has handled his job as U.S. senator, while 38 percent said they 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 governor Terry Branstad should seek re-election in 2013. Branstad ended up coasting into a historic sixth term.

Asked what his considerations would be if he chose not to run, 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, filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission for the 2022 election, but declined to say whether he is running. 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, but 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’s support for immigration legislation and the decision to allow people to make legal asylum claims.

“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 to this country. And, when you don’t have a secure border, that happens. And we didn’t even have a 100 percent secure border under Trump, but we have a more secure border than what 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.’ ”

Grassley unswayed by latest polling, hints he will run in 2022