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Salier renews threat of Grassley primary
If U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) continues to work with Democrats on health care reform legislation and energy policy, he will face a primary in 2010, conservative activist Bill Salier predicted during an interview on WHO-AM.
Speaking with controversial radio host Steve Deace about a recent letter criticizing Grassley penned by GOP state Rep. Kent Sorenson of Indianola, Salier said it is not surprising political observers believed it was the first shot of a coming primary challenge.
“If this were 8 to 10 years ago, then yes, I would have been surprised by that reaction because Grassley was the dominant force in Iowa politics, in both parties,” he said. “Grassley was the dominant force and had an enormous amount of loyalty. That has so eroded out from underneath him. There is so much talk of primarying Chuck Grassley now that I think he had to respond very quickly to somebody like Kent Sorenson to try to head that off if that was indeed what Sorenson was thinking.”
After the letter was made public, Grassley apparently had dinner with Sorenson to discuss his concerns, which included past statements on same-sex marriage and his vote for the $700 million bank bailout.
Earlier in the day, Sorenson told Deace he has no interest in running for the U.S. Senate. However, he said he has been contacted by two different county central committees urging him to challenge Grassley in a primary.
If Grassley doesn’t take Sorenson’s complaints to heart, a primary challenger will emerge and Salier will work hard to make sure Iowa’s senior senator does not return to Washington, D.C.
“If he doesn’t right his ship on this, he very well may face a primary,” he said. “And if it’s someone who thinks like me on these issues or someone who thinks like Kent Sorenson does, I’ll take everything I’ve got to try to propel them forward.”
Grassley’s seniority in the Senate should not be a reason to support his candidacy, Salier said, since something like his position of power on the Senate Finance Committee means “absolutely bupkis if what you do with that power is work with [Montana Democratic Sen.] Max Baucus to try to advance socialized medicine.”
Deace said several times that if Salier were to enter the race, he would defeat Grassley.
“People are that frustrated,” Deace said.
This isn’t the first time Salier has discussed Grassley’s political vulnerablity. He blasted Grassley’s response to the April Supreme Court ruling overturning Iowa’s ban on same-sex marriage, saying he “isn’t even close to the same conservative” he was when he was first elected.
Salier is the founding member of the conservative group Everyday America. In 2002 he became a hero of sorts to Iowa’s social conservative movement when he ran a surprisingly close U.S. Senate primary race against Congressman Greg Ganske.