Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the senior Republican in the Senate, announced Friday on Twitter that he would seek an eighth term, relieving Republicans worried about a bitter primary fight that could put the seat at risk.
Mr. Grassley, who turned 88 last week and would be 95 at the end of his term, sought to emphasize his fitness in disclosing his plans that will draw attention because of his age. A tweet showed an alarm clock turning to 4 a.m. and Mr. Grassley jogging in the early morning darkness.
“It’s 4 a.m. in Iowa so I’m running,” said Mr. Grassley, a habitual jogger. “I do that 6 days a week.”
In a separate release, Mr. Grassley, first elected to public office as a state legislator in 1958, said that he has been encouraged to run by Iowans as he toured the state in recent months.
“I’m working as hard as ever for the people of Iowa and there’s more work to do,” he said in a statement. “In a time of crisis and polarization, Iowa needs strong, effective leadership.”
Senator Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican and minority leader, had joined his colleagues in encouraging Mr. Grassley to run to head off a primary fight to succeed him. A bitter Republican primary could have provided an opening for Democrats to pick up a seat in what will be an intense battle next year for the Senate majority. Former Democratic Representative Abby Finkenauer, 32, who lost her re-election bid last year, has already announced she would seek the seat held by Mr. Grassley.
Elected to the Senate in 1980 when Ronald Reagan won the presidency, Mr. Grassley has used his seniority to preside as chairman of both the Senate Finance Committee and the Judiciary Committee, where he was instrumental in advancing President Donald J. Trump’s nominees to the Supreme Court and also blocking President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick B. Garland. He easily won re-election in 2016 even though Democrats aggressively sought to topple him because of his refusal to take up the Garland nomination.
Mr. Grassley was known for bipartisanship earlier in his career but became increasingly conservative as his state also shifted ideologically to the right. During the Obama presidency, Mr. Grassley engaged in negotiations with Democrats over the health care law but pulled out under a Republican backlash to his work with Democrats. He was a leading proponent of a criminal justice overhaul crafted with Democrats and signed into law by Mr. Trump.
As the senior Senate Republican, Mr. Grassley was third in line to succession of the president when Republicans held the Senate majority, following the vice president and speaker of the House. He would not be the oldest Republican senator ever if he served his full eighth term. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina was 100 when he left the Senate in 2002.
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