Mike Franken enters Iowa’s U.S. Senate race

Mike Franken, a retired admiral and Sioux City resident, came in second in the Democratic primary race to run against Sen. Joni Ernst in 2020. (Mike Franken 2019 campaign photo)

DES MOINES — Mike Franken is entering Iowa’s U.S. Senate race, the Sioux City veteran and Democrat announced Thursday morning on social media.

Franken, a retired three-star admiral in the U.S. Navy, becomes the fourth candidate in the Democratic primary. The Democratic nominee will likely face longtime incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley in next fall’s general election.

“An important part of leadership is doing what’s right. In 2002, I cast the sole ‘no’ vote during deliberations on the invasion of Iraq. Now, I’m declaring my candidacy to unseat (Grassley) to represent Iowa in the U.S. Senate,” Franken posted on Twitter.

Franken was referring to his vote as a Navy captain while discussing the potential invasion of Iraq with other military leaders in the Bush administration.

Franken also ran in the Democratic primary in Iowa’s 2020 U.S. Senate race. He received 25% of the primary vote and finished second to Theresa Greenfield, who was defeated by Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst in the 2020 general election.

“I’ll be a Senator for all of Iowa, the rural and urban parts and small towns, because there’s more that unites us than divides us,” Franken said in a campaign news release. “We all want health care we can afford, good jobs that allow young people to stay close to home, and leadership from Washington instead of constant partisan bickering.”

The other Democratic candidates are former Congresswoman and state lawmaker Abby Finkenauer of Cedar Rapids, farmer and former county supervisor Dave Muhlbauer of Manning, and physician Glenn Hurst of Minden.

Grassley faces a challenge in the Republican primary from Sioux City attorney and state lawmaker Jim Carlin.

The 2022 primary election in Iowa is June 7 and the midterm general election is next Nov. 8.

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