Iowa governor's race could affect control of the US Senate

Politicians think of themselves, first and foremost.  In a closely divided Senate, one seat may turn control over to the other party in the next election.  If the Republicans emerge from the next election with a 50-50 split, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking ties, the loss of one Republican senator during the next two years will change control.

Whom am I referring to?  Chuck Grassley of Iowa.  He's not merely a typical Republican senator in his 60s or 70s; he's 85 years old.  And his term doesn't expire until 2022.

What happens if Charles Grassley dies or is incapacitated any time in the next two years?  The governor of Iowa would appoint his replacement.  Who will be the governor of Iowa for the next four years?  We don't know, but the Democrat, Fred Hubbell, is leading in all the polls against Republican Kim Reynolds.  If Hubbell wins and Grassley dies or becomes incapacitated, the Democrats will take that Senate seat via a governor's appointment.  In a 50-50 Senate, it could shift control.

See the problem now?  That's why it's irresponsible for Republicans to run for re-election in their 80s.  Given the way the Iowa governor race is looking, it's a real concern.

Even if Republicans actually pick up a seat or two in the elections, as they might, it's still a small margin, where every vote will count, especially in a Senate filled with abortion-loving, Obamacare-admiring Republicans like Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski.  Senator Grassley performed admirably in the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, but his time has come and passed, and he should have made way for a younger candidate, back when he was up for re-election in 2016 and was only 83 years old.

Thomas Lifson responds:

The only age requirement in the Constitution is a minimum age, not a mandatory retirement age.  I see no sign that Senator Grassley suffers from any age-related impairment.  Any senator might die in office.  Demanding that a vigorous and effective senator should retire in his 80s would rob Iowans of their preferred solon.

Ed Straker is the senior editor of

Photo credit: Ken Lund.

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