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Election results 2022: Grassley wins eighth term in the Senate

Sen. Chuck Grassley on a graphic showing he has won his race.
Sen. Chuck Grassley has been reelected to the U.S. Senate

Republican Chuck Grassley has been reelected to the U.S. Senate for an eighth term, defeating Democrat Michael Franken by the smallest margin of victory in any of his reelection bids.

Grassley will be the longest-serving senator in the next Congress.

In a victory speech at the Iowa GOP party in Des Moines Tuesday night, Grassley said this race was his toughest since he was elected in 1980. With 98% of the vote counted early Wednesday morning, Grassley led Franken by 12 points.

Grassley thanked his supporters and touted the seniority he’ll have once his new term begins.

Sen. Grassley speaks into a microphone in front of an American flag.
John Pemble
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U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley giving his victory reelection speech in Des Moines on Election Day 2022. Grassley has been Iowa's longest-serving senator.

“I thank you for your trust in me over a long period of time. I'm in a position to do a lot for Iowa,” he said. “When I'm back in the new Senate, I'll be number one in the Senate, which simply means that Iowans are going to be number one on my agenda.”

Grassley said he’ll be listening to the voices of all Iowans.

“When I toured the 99 counties, I don't ask anybody Republican or Democrat or Independent, they can set the agenda, and I'll answer their questions or listen to their complaints,” he said. “That principle is fundamental to my service, and I will never change.”

You've hired me to work for six more years for you...And I take that responsibility to heart and I promise to work hard for you.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley

If Republicans win a majority in the Senate, Grassley will become president pro tempore, putting him in the line of presidential succession.

Grassley is currently the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and if Republicans hold a majority of the Senate over his term, he could hold other positions of leadership, like overseeing the federal budget.

“I’m going to finish out my two years of the six years I can be chairman of the Judiciary Committee if we’re in the majority, and then the next committee I can be chairman of would be the Budget Committee,” he told Radio Iowa back in October.

Grassley said serving Iowans’ best interest will be his No. 1 priority.

“You've hired me to work for six more years for you,” he said. “And I take that responsibility to heart and I promise to work hard for you.”

His challenger, Democrat and retired Navy Admiral Michael Franken said Grassley and he share the same goal of representing the people of Iowa.

“A political fence separated us indeed. But fellow Iowans, we are. And there's no association that means more than that. And there's nothing more American than embracing the will of the people,” Franken said in his concession speech in Des Moines Tuesday night.

Election Results

U.S. Senate Balance of Power

The U.S. Senate takes action on bills, resolutions, amendments, motions, nominations and treaties by voting. Iowa's two current senators are Republicans Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst.

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley and Democratic challenger Mike Franken met for just one hour-long debate ahead of the Nov. 8 election, a growing trend this midterm election season. Let's get to know the candidates and where they stand on some major issues.

The candidates

Chuck Grassley

Sen. Chuck Grassley has been a U.S. Senator from Iowa since he was elected in 1980. He is currently in his seventh Senate term and serves as president pro tempore emeritus of the U.S. Senate. At 89, he is Iowa's longest-serving senator.

Mike Franken

Franken is a retired U.S. Navy vice admiral. He ran for Sen. Joni Ernst's seat in the 2020 election but lost in the primary to Theresa Greenfield.

Franken experienced an additional hurdle in his campaign this September when a Des Moines police report surfaced in which a former campaign staffer accused Franken of kissing her without permission. Law enforcement determined “there was insufficient information and evidence to pursue a criminal investigation.”

The issues

Senate priorities

At a debate held by Iowa PBS on Oct. 6, Franken said he would seek to advocate for health care, particularly women's reproductive rights, in the Senate. He listed fixing immigration issues at the border and ensuring responsible gun ownership as other priorities.

Grassley said he would continue work to reduce prescription drug prices and create a fair market for cattle producers. He added he would also continue to work against economic discrimination by large corporations like Amazon and Google that hurt small businesses.

Abortion

Franken and Grassley have expressed very different views on abortion rights following the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade this summer, which handed the rights to regulate abortion to the states.

South Carolina Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham introduced a bill last month that would ban abortions nationwide and Grassley was asked how he would vote on it. Grassley didn’t answer the question when he was initially asked and said he’s always been “pro-life” and “pro-family."

“The people of the United States get a chance to voice their opinion to their elected representatives and that surely is better [for a] democracy than unelected judges of the courts to make that decision,” Grassley said.

When pressed by a moderator, Grassley said he would “vote no.”

Franken has said the U.S. Senate should codify Roe v. Wade. He was asked how he would define viability, which was part of the ruling.

“We shouldn’t have the government stepping in to determine when viability exists,” Franken said. “The doctor knows this. The woman knows this. This is not something for government to step in and make those determinations.”

Drug prices

Grassley recently opposed an amendment in the Senate that would have capped insulin prices at $35, saying at the time that the proposal didn't follow procedural rules. During the debate, Grassley said he supports the $35 cap and has fought to keep drug prices down.

"Nobody can say that I haven't been in the forefront of this effort," he said.

Franken criticized Grassley for voting against the Affordable Care Act.