U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley
U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley
June 3, 2013

U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, says former state legislator Rod Roberts of Carroll would be a good candidate for the seat being vacated by veteran senator Tom Harkin.

"I think I know Rod very well," Grassley said in an interview with The Daily Times Herald. "For instance, I've been a guest in his home overnight. I know that he was an outstanding state legislator. I know that he's a good member of the cabinet of Governor Branstad. I think he's willing to work hard and that he would be a good candidate."

Roberts has said he's considering a run for the U.S. Senate. Harkin, a Democrat, has announced he will not seek re-election in 2016. U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Waterloo, is already campaigning for the Senate.

Grassley's recent former chief of staff, David Young, 45, of Van Meter, Saturday announced his candidacy for the Senate. Former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker entered the GOP primary race for the Senate today.

Grassley said he would not back any candidate in the GOP primary.

"There's one candidate I encouraged to run, and I told that candidate he was the only one I going to encourage to run, but I wasn't going to discourage anybody else from running." Grassley said.

Grassley would not identify his preferred candidate but did say he declined to run.

A number of high-profile Iowa and national Republicans urged U.S. Rep. Tom Latham, R-Clive, to seek the Senate seat. Latham declined, as did U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz.

Roberts, who ran for governor in 2010, is currently serving as director of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals.