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Sen. Chuck Grassley, The Oldest Republican In The Senate, Will Run For Reelection

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa says he will run for an eighth term in the U.S. Senate, squashing rumors of his retirement. The move avoids an additional roadblock for Republicans hoping to reestablish a party majority in the Senate during the 2022 midterms.

Grassley, an avid jogger, made the announcement early Friday morning, a week after his 88th birthday.

"It's 4 a.m. in Iowa so I'm running. I do that 6 days a week. 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," the statement said.

The longtime Republican lawmaker has served as the Senate's president pro tempore and holds the title of ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Grassley will face a challenge from former Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer of Iowa, who announced her candidacy in July.

"I'm Abby Finkenauer, and I'm running for U.S. Senate because Iowa — and our Democracy — are worth fighting for," she wrote on Twitter. ''After 46 years in DC, @ChuckGrassley has lost touch with both."

Grassley leads Finkenauer by 18 percentage points, according to a recent September Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll.

Despite a sizable early polling lead, Grassley is likely to face additional skepticism from voters over his long tenure.

In June, The Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa polling found that 64% of respondents were looking for a new candidate to run.

Grassley is the oldest Republican in the Senate and the second-oldest senator, behind only Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. Feinstein turned 88 three months before Grassley.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Elena Moore is a production assistant for the NPR Politics Podcast. She also fills in as a reporter for the NewsDesk. Moore previously worked as a production assistant for Morning Edition. During the 2020 presidential campaign, she worked for the Washington Desk as an editorial assistant, doing both research and reporting. Before coming to NPR, Moore worked at NBC News. She is a graduate of The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and is originally and proudly from Brooklyn, N.Y.