Democrat David Muhlbauer launches Senate campaign

Muhlbauer comes from a family of farmers and Democrats, and he discussed how rural Iowans have felt ignored by the Democratic Party in his campaign ad.


Katina Zentz

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa., has a conversation at the Iowa State Capitol on Monday, January 13, 2020.

Natalie Dunlap, News Editor

The first Democrat has announced their candidacy for Iowa’s 2022 Senate race. 

Dave Muhlbauer, the former Vice Chairman of the Crawford County Board of Supervisors, filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Elections Commission on May 21 and released a campaign ad on Monday. 

In the video, Muhlbauer said he comes from a family of farmers and Democrats. 

His father, Dan Muhlbauer, was a Democratic member of the Iowa House of Representatives.

Like his son, he was also a Crawford County Supervisor, serving in the role from 2004 to 2009. His grandfather, Louis Muhlbauer, was a Democratic Representative in the Iowa House from 1985-1991.

“A lot of farmers that are [in their] 50s, 60s, come up to me, ‘Dave, I used to be a Democrat,’ and they just feel Democrats are leaving rural areas high and dry,” Muhlbauer said in the video.

He said low wages, increasing cost of living, and corporations lobbying in their favor, are issues weighing Iowans down. 

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has not yet announced if he will seek reelection in 2022. As previously reported by The Daily Iowan, he began serving in the U.S. Senate in 1981, after serving three terms in the U.S. House. 

Before his career in Washington began, Grassley served in the Iowa House of Representatives from 1959-74. He is the second-longest serving, currently seated senator. 

On multiple occasions, Grassley has told reporters he will make his decision about reelection in the fall. Another Republican has already announced his candidacy for the seat, state Sen. Jim Carlin, R-Sioux City.

“The primary is more than a year away, the election a year and a half away,” wrote Taylor Foy, Grassley’s communications director in a statement to The Daily Iowan. “In the meantime Senator Grassley is working as hard as ever for Iowans.”

Erin Moynihan, a spokesperson for the Iowa Democratic Party wrote in a message to the DI that only 28 percent of Iowans want Grassley to run again, referring to a Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll from March 2021.

That’s why the Iowa Democratic Party is looking forward to the upcoming primaries and the chance for Iowans to hear from a diverse group of Democratic candidates,” Moynihan said.

Since his first Senate race in 1980, Grassley has beaten challengers by a healthy margin. In 2020, when Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, was up for reelection, she won with 6 percentage points over Democrat Theresa Greenfield.

“Our farmers and rural communities can’t afford the policies of today’s Democrat Party,” Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann said in a statement issued by the Iowa GOP on Monday.  

Kaufmann claimed Iowa Democrats’ use of farm experience in campaign ads was political theatre.