Grassley: Harkin's leaving, so I'm staying

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said Friday he is “planning” to seek reelection in 2016 because he doesn’t want his state to be without an experienced, senior senator. 

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The 80-year-old Republican said he decided to seek a seventh term after his Democratic colleague from the state, Sen. Tom Harkin, several months ago announced his own retirement plans at the end of his term in early 2015. 

Harkin has been in the Senate since 1984. Grassley was first elected in 1980. 

“If Iowa had to start over two years from now with two very junior senators it would hurt Iowans’ opportunities to get anything done in the Senate,” Grassley told Iowa Public Television, according to the Des Moines Register

Grassley will be 83 in November 2016, and would be 89 if he won and served a full seventh term. In 2010, he was reelected with 65 percent support. 

“I’m making plans, but it’s not taking much of my time. I’m concentrating on doing my job for Iowans, on being there when we’re in session, doing my oversight, doing my legislation, doing my town meetings in the 99 [Iowa] counties every year. Just doing what a senator ought to do. I’m a firm believer if you do a good job with what you’re doing, people recognize it and the future takes care of itself.”

Prior to Friday’s statement, Grassley said he had told only his staff of his plans to remain in politics.