Grassley wins reelection, Franken falls short

After 41 consecutive years representing Iowa in the Senate, Sen. Chuck Grassley is on his way to six more years in that seat.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley takes the stage after winning reelection during a watch party for Iowa Republicans on Election Day at the Hilton Downtown in Des Moines on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.

Lauren White, Politics Reporter

Sen. Chuck Grassley was reelected on Tuesday to the U.S. Senate for his 41st consecutive year in the position.

Grassley won the race with 678,738 votes while his competitor, Mike Franken had 531,589 votes, according to unofficial results. On election night, Grassley held a watch party at the Hilton Hotel in Des Moines where he and his supporters celebrated the win.

While addressing the crowd after the Associated Press named Grassley as the winner, he thanked Franken for the toughest challenge he has faced in any election.

“The Democrats and Biden want to transform America, you and I want to preserve America,” Grassley.

Grassley said he will work for Iowans from both parties — those that supported him and those that opposed him — and continue talking to constituents to find out what they need.

“I don’t ask anybody if they are Republican or Democrat or independent. They can set the agenda and I’ll answer their questions or listen to their complaints. That principle is fundamental to my service, and I will never change,” Grassley said.

Gov. Kim Reynolds, Republican Candidate for Congress Zach Nunn, and Jeff Kaufmann, the chairman of the Iowa GOP were present at the watch party.

Kaufmann said the results of the Senate race were not surprising to him. He said the previous Iowa Poll, which once showed Franken in the lead, was an anomaly.

“I don’t think I ever spent any waking hours worried about Sen. Grassley,” Kaufmann said.

Leading up to the election, Grassley led over Franken in the Iowa Poll 53 percent to 41 percent. This 12 percent lead showed one of the narrowest wins in Grassley’s career.

Franken spoke at the Democratic Watch Party in Des Moines and thanked people for the support he received during the campaign season.

“We must work to achieve an Iowa that reflects our most cherished past: a state that led the nation in drawing culture to legislation, answering the needs of its citizens in doing so,” Franken said. “And I’ll be with you every step of that journey but for now, goodnight and God bless, thank you very much.”

The competitors raised a similar amount of money over the course of their campaigns. Grassley led with $9.8 million raised while Franken had $9.2 million raised as of Oct. 19.

Grassley campaigned by showcasing his fiscal responsibility and voting attendance in the Senate. He differentiated himself from his opponent by saying that a vote for Franken would bring extreme liberalism to the state of Iowa.

If Grassley finishes out his eighth term, in 2028, he will be the third longest-serving U.S. Senator in history with 47 years in the position.

As The Daily Iowan previously reported, Grassley is the second longest-serving currently seated senator. During the Trump administration, he was president pro tempore from 2019-21. Grassley began in the U.S. Senate in 1981, after serving three terms in the U.S. House.

At his own watch party on the other side of town, Franken said he and Grassley may have been competitors, but the two were united in an effort to represent the state they love.

Franken encouraged his supporters not to give up the fight to have more Democrats elected to represent Iowa. He said they need to rest and regroup and use their voices again soon.

“We must work to achieve an Iowa that reflects our most cherished past: a state that led the nation in drawing culture to legislation, answering the needs of its citizens in doing so. And I’ll be with you every step of that journey,” Franken said.

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