Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the oldest Republican in the U.S. Senate, announced on Friday that he will run for re-election next year -- a decision that's expected to significantly increase the GOP's chances at retaking control of the chamber.
Grassley, 88, announced his decision on Twitter early Friday.
"It's 4 a.m. in Iowa so I'm running. I do that 6 days a week. Before I start the day I want you to know what Barbara and I have decided. I'm running for re-election," he wrote. "[There is] a lot more to do, for Iowa."
There was speculation that Grassley, who was elected to the Senate in 1980, was contemplating retirement and that his open seat would bring uncertainty for the Republican Party's prospects of regaining the Senate majority in the 2022 midterm elections.
The chamber is presently split 50-50 between parties, but Democrats have a slight edge by way of Vice President Kamala Harris' tie-breaking vote.
There was concern over Grassley's seat mainly because five other Republican senators have already announced they will not run again in 2022 -- Roy Blunt of Mississippi, Rob Portman of Ohio, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Richard Shelby of Alabama.
Grassley was first elected into the Iowa state legislature in 1958 at the age of 23 and has held elected office ever since. He also is the ranking Republican on the Senate judiciary committee.