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Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 03 April 2009 13:27
Possible Democratic Challenger to Grassley Emerges

Democrat Bob Krause used the podium at a recent Des Moines luncheon to launch an exploratory committee for a campaign against U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley and to call out the incumbent for being "a bit disingenuous" about the role he's played in the current economic crisis.

Krause said Grassley was at the forefront of the movement in the late 1990s to do away with legislation that acted as "firewall safeguards" and prevented insurance companies and banks from engaging in the high-risk business practices that ultimately led to the current industry panic.

"Please remember that Senator Grassley was the one that opened the barn door and let the cattle out at AIG," Krause said. "That repeal is what created the AIG debacle."

Krause became the first Democrat to formally take steps to challenge Grassley in the 2010 midterm election, hoping that the early launch will allow him time to raise the money necessarily to wage a campaign against the five-term incumbent Republican.

"We as a team can reach a threshold of viability that will make people throughout the nation realize Senator Grassley is vulnerable and can be beaten," Krause said. "That threshold is about $1.5 million for a challenger."

Grassley reported $2.8 million cash on hand for his re-election as of December 31. He's held eight fundraisers between Election Day and the early part of January, with 10 more scheduled.

On Thursday, Grassley cast his 10,000th U.S. Senate vote, a milestone that's only been reached by 28 other senators, including nine serving today. Grassley holds the record for the longest streak of successive votes among current senators, having cast 5,473 consecutive votes. Grassley last missed a vote in July 1993, when he accompanied President Bill Clinton to Iowa to inspect flood damage.

This weekly summary comes from, an online government and politics news service. staff contributed to this report.

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