Franken wins Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in Iowa

Michael Franken defeated Abby Finkenauer and Glenn Hurst in the June 7 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in Iowa and will face incumbent Chuck Grassley (R), first elected in 1980, in the general election.

According to the Des Moines Register‘s Tim Webber and Stephen Gruber-Miller: “Former U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer entered the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate as the perceived frontrunner to challenge Grassley in November’s general election, but Franken pulled off an upset victory on Tuesday, with support that extended broadly throughout the state.”

Franken is a retired three-star U.S. Navy Admiral. He ran in the 2020 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate and lost to Theresa Greenfield. Franken campaigned on protecting voting rights and expanding federal programs for older Iowans, including Medicare. Franken said, “My family used military, my brother-in-law and myself, to go to college and do bigger things than what rural Lebanon, Iowa offered. My broad perspective is a product of exposure.” Franken said he appealed to “that middle segment who want logical, pragmatic, smart, dedicated, national servants to work for them. Leader servants. I believe I’m that person.”

Finkenauer represented Iowa’s 1st Congressional District from 2019 to 2021. At the time of her election to the U.S. House, Finkenauer was, at age 29, the second-youngest woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress. She campaigned on term limits, saying members of Congress should not serve for more than 12 years. Finkenauer said, “when January 6 happened, that’s where everything changed for me. Because I saw as we had somebody sitting there, at that point for 45 years, Senator Grassley pushed conspiracies about the election. Not even talk about the truth and actually, you know, bring people together after that moment.”

Hurst was a family physician who also served as the chair of the Iowa Democratic Party’s Rural Caucus. He campaigned on Medicare for All and investing in rural America. Hurst said he was “a progressive candidate in this race that is different from the other candidates” because he supported Medicare for All and a Green New Deal. He said candidates in Iowa have lost because “they didn’t appeal to that desire for change.”