Mike Franken enters race for Grassley’s Senate seat

Retired Navy admiral Mike Franken entered the Democratic field vying for Chuck Grassley’s senate seat Thursday, marking his second run for the U.S. Senate.


Tate Hildyard

Retired Naval officer, Michael Franken speaks to supporters at the law office of Iowa City attorney Jim Larew on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019. After forty years of service in the Navy, Franken is stepping down to pursue a campaign for senator.

Rylee Wilson, Managing Editor

Another Democratic challenger has entered the race to unseat seven-term Sen. Chuck Grassley. 

Mike Franken, a retired Navy admiral, announced his bid for the Senate on Thursday. Franken ran for Sen. Joni Ernst’s seat in 2020, but came second in the Democratic primary to Theresa Greenfield.

Citing his time as a Navy admiral, Franken announced his campaign in a tweet saying he would bring leadership to the Senate. 

“​​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,” he wrote. “Now, I’m declaring my candidacy to unseat [Chuck Grassley] to represent Iowa in the US Senate.”


Franken is the fifth Democrat to enter the race. Former Rep. Abby Finkenauer announced her bid in July. Dave Muhlbauer, chair of the Crawford County Board of Supervisors, Minden City Councilor Glenn Hurst, and former Iowa Rep. Bob Krause have also entered the race. 

Grassley is also facing a Republican challenge from Sen. Jim Carlin, R-Sioux City. 

A September Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll showed Finkenauer had a 30 percent favorable rating among Iowans polled, and a 28 percent unfavorable rating. The remaining 42 percent did not know enough to form an opinion. Grassley had a favorability rating of 81 percent.

The poll showed Grassley leading Finkenauer by 18 percent. 

On Oct. 9, former President Donald Trump endorsed Grassley at a rally in Des Moines.