Senator Chuck Grassley doesn’t plan to endorse a candidate in the Republican primary for Iowa’s open U.S. Senate seat next year, he told John Stanton of BuzzFeed.com this week. He has a favored candidate in mind, but plans to keep that view to himself:
Despite his role as the elder statesman of the party, Grassley said he’s not getting seriously involved in the primary: though he has spoken to one candidate. “I said to him, ‘You’re the only one I’m going to encourage to run, I’m not going to tell anyone they shouldn’t run.’ Because everyone I’ve heard talked about is a viable candidate … that’s as far as I’m going to go.
Grassley was wise not to discount Representative Steve King’s prospects; respect from elder statesmen like him and Governor Terry Branstad will make it easier for King to bow out of the Senate race without looking chicken.
I would guess that Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey is the person Grassley has encouraged to run for Senate. Northey is thinking about the race, but I suspect that his past support for a gasoline tax would become a problem in a GOP primary.
Any comments about the Senate race are welcome in this thread. UPDATE: Bret Hayworth of the Sioux City Journal has been covering King for some time. He believes that King is more likely than not to run for Senate.
SECOND UPDATE: Iowa GOP Chair A.J. Spiker confirmed that he is thinking about running for Senate. Good luck with that. The Ron Paul machine is well-organized but probably not large enough to deliver victory in a statewide primary.