Republican U.S. Senator Grassley, 88, to seek re-election in Iowa

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The U.S. Senate continues to push through the bipartisan infrastructure bill, at Capitol Hill in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley on Friday said he will seek another term in next year's congressional election, boosting the party's chances of holding onto his seat amid a closely divided chamber.

Grassley, the oldest Republican senator and the longest-serving Iowa senator, has also helped shepherd conservatives into the federal judiciary, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

He is seeking his eighth term in the chamber, now divided 50-50 with Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris serving as tie-breaker to give Democrats narrow control.

"I’m running for re-election — a lot more to do, for Iowa. We ask and will work for your support. Will you join us?" he said in a post on Twitter.

Republicans, who lost control of the Senate in January following a special election in Georgia, aim to retake the upper chamber and the House of Representatives next year to counter Democratic U.S. President Joe Biden, who won in 2020. Grassley's seat is considered a "solid" Republican, according to the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.

Grassley serves as the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he previously chaired when the party controlled the Senate under former Presidents Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Barack Obama and helped reshape the nation's top court with three more solidly conservative justices.

He played a central role in conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh's contentious U.S. Supreme Court confirmation in 2018.

Earlier, in 2016 he embraced then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's decision not to act on Obama's nomination of centrist Merrick Garland to fill a Supreme Court vacancy, an action with little precedent in U.S. history. That left Trump to fill the position - left vacant for more than a year - in 2017 with Neil Gorsuch.

In 2020, Grassley was no longer chairman but was on the committee when the Senate confirmed Trump's third Supreme Court appointee Amy Coney Barrett. (This story corrects to add dropped letter in headline)

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

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