Charles Grassley was the designated kamikaze pilot for the Republicans on health care reform, doing whatever he could to tarnish and delay the process. The threats came entirely from his right, because no credible opponent had announced to run against his re-election effort on the Democratic side in 2010, while challengers on the right were rumored to be lining up to face him in a primary. Not to mention the internal struggles in the cutthroat Republican caucus.

This all may have changed yesterday, when Christie Vilsack the wife of USDA Secretary and former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, intimated that she could make a run at the seat.

Republican Chuck Grassley will seek a sixth term in the U.S. Senate in 2010 and, so far, two eastern Iowa Democrats who once served in the state legislature have announced they’re running. But during an interview with WHO TV, Christie Vilsack — a lifelong Democrat — revealed she’s considering a run for the senate herself.

“I am honored that people would think of me in that way and would talk to me about running for any office and I think I’m well-qualified to run,” Vilsack said. “I think I’m qualified to serve, so time will tell.”

Grassley’s approval ratings have crashed in Iowa during his high-profile role in the health care debate. And Vilsack certainly has name recognition in a state where her husband served two terms.

If Vilsack does choose to run, nobody deserves a tough race more than Chuck Grassley after the farce he has made of the health care debate.

David Dayen

David Dayen