Sen. Charles E. Grassley doesn’t plan to be caught flat-footed if he faces a competitive, expensive re-election battle in 2016.
In a Wednesday interview with CQ Roll Call, the Iowa Republican said he began work on his campaign last year, and there will be more involvement from the national party than in his past efforts, given the exploding costs of campaigns. “I suppose early on, you spend your time on funding the campaign more than on organization, probably working very closely with the NRSC, more so than I have in the past because of the sophistication of campaigning now and the massive amount of money you have to raise compared to what you used to have to have,” Grassley said. “The days of cheap campaigns are over.”
But Grassley conceded he does have one fundraising advantage: The anticipated large field of 2016 presidential contenders who will be eager to lend their support to the popular senior statesman from Iowa, home of the first round of caucuses.
“When I have what you might call house parties or, or fundraising parties in homes in Iowa, I think I can call on a lot of presidential candidates that’ll help me get out a big crowd,” he said.
First elected to the Senate in 1980, Grassley is at no risk of facing a charge that beguiled other recent longtime incumbents, since he spends so much of his time throughout the Hawkeye State.
“My philosophy for running a campaign is doing the best possible job you can with your official duties, and then that includes Washington, D.C., but it also includes the 99-county tours that I’ve done for 34 years in a row,” Grassley said. “I’ve had seven town meetings so far this year.”
In the 114th Congress, Grassley wields the gavel of the Senate Judiciary Committee. In the sit-down interview, he pledged that aggressive oversight of the Obama administration will be a hallmark of his chairmanship, expressing frustration with unfulfilled commitments for cooperation from executive branch nominees in Democratic and Republican administrations alike.
This race is rated Republican Favored by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call.
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