Mike Franken for Senate

Jim Chrisinger is a retired public servant living in Ankeny. He served in both Republican and Democratic administrations, in Iowa and elsewhere.

American democracy is on the ballot. Electing people who support and will defend our democracy tops my priorities.  

I voted for Senator Chuck Grassley, multiple times. Unfortunately, Grassley no long supports democracy.  He condones Donald Trump's Big Lie about the 2020 election, supports voter suppression, opposes the renewal of the Voting Rights Act (which he previously voted for), voted twice to acquit Trump, and opposed a bipartisan January 6 commission. When Grassley chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2016, he refused to give U.S. Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland a hearing.  

So who stands the best chance of unseating Grassley? I have nothing against Abby Finkenauer. She supports democracy and many policies that I favor. Though the fact that she had to win an Iowa Supreme Court case over her barely sufficient signatures to qualify for the ballot does not speak well of her campaign’s competency.  

I strongly believe that Mike Franken has the best chance to win in November. Franken’s roots are in rural northwest Iowa, born the eighth child to a rural schoolteacher and repair shop owner. He worked his way through college, including in a meatpacking job. He served our country in the Navy for almost four decades, rising to the rank of three-star Admiral. He worked for Teddy Kennedy and Barack Obama. 

When he led U.S. forces in East Africa, Admiral Franken pulled the plug on Fox News during meal times. Franken’s policy positions place him solidly in the Democratic mainstream.

For me the choice in November will be easy, whether the Democratic candidate is Franken or Finkenauer. Democrats support democracy and most Republicans don’t anymore.  

But Grassley will not be easily defeated. He’s still riding decades of name ID and service from before, when he had integrity. And Iowa tilts increasingly red. 

Under these circumstances, Mike Franken has the best chance of motivating pro-democracy Republicans and independents, as well as Democrats. Please join me in supporting Mike Franken in this primary on June 7.  

Top photo of a Franken campaign yard sign provided by the author and published with permission.

Editor’s note: Bleeding Heartland welcomes guest posts advocating for Democratic candidates in competitive primaries for local, state, or federal offices. Please read these guidelines and contact Laura Belin if you are interested in writing.

  • "Best Chance to Win"

    Why is it that straight white men always have the "best chance to win"? According to whom? There are a lot of assumptions here.
    Obama was not our 'best chance." Trump was not the Republican's "best chance." Finkenauer was not considered the "best chance" to beat Blum.

    • "Best Chance to Win" Assumptions

      I think that the greater assumption is the "best chance to win" is based on Admiral Franken being a straight white man. Randy Bauer certainly makes this case below.

      Was Obama our "best chance"? I believe he was. Was Trump the Republicans' "best chance"? I don't pretend to understand their mindset, but with no policies, perhaps the "personality" was the best chance - unfortunately. Finkenauer may not have been considered the "best chance" to beat Blum, but as an incumbent, she was the "best chance" to defeat Hinson, and that didn't happen.

      I believe that it is Franken's breadth of experience that gives him the "best chance" to perform the duties and make the decisions of a US Senator. It is also what gives him the "best chance" to appeal to the Iowa voters.

      • Assumptions

        Our assumptions are often not articulated - because they are assumed. Why do the "money people" in Iowa write checks to Hubbell but not DeJear? Why couldn't Was Smith get any momentum? Why do so many people think Franken has a "better chance"?
        By saying you "don't pretend to understand their mindset" you are unwilling to examine the possibility that our electorate needs a wake up call when it comes to racism, misogeny, etc.

  • Best Candidate

    Skip the 'best chance to win' debate (but Abby losing the most Democratic Congressional seat in Iowa isn't a big plus in that debate). Franken is simply far more accomplished. Abby Finkenauer has served two terms in the Iowa House of Representatives and one term in Congress. Yes, she's young, but that is her resume for US Senate?

    Retired three star Navy Admiral Mike Franken was the first commanding officer of the USS Winston S. Churchill. He served as the United States Africa Command's deputy for military operations, the United States Central Command's flag officer responsible for plans and strategy, the chief of staff at U.S. Third Fleet, and as executive assistant to Commander, Fleet Forces Command.

    From 2011 to 2012, Franken commanded the joint task force responsible for the U.S. military activity throughout East Africa and in the islands of the Indian Ocean.

    In Washington, D.C., he served a fellowship in congressional affairs for the Office of the Secretary of the Navy; as the political-military chair in the Chief of Naval Operations' Executive Panel, in Navy's Plans and Strategy Deep Blue staff; in the Assessments Division in support of Navy's representation in the Joint Requirements Oversight Council and in the Joint Staff's Joint Operations Division overseeing U.S. Pacific Command operations.

    He was also the first director of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting agency is an 800-person defense agency which oversees the location and retrieval of the remains of American veterans of foreign wars.

    His leadership and management experience far exceeds Abby's, and he will have a natural leadership role in the Senate on foreign affairs and military issues. It's not clear exactly what leadership role Abby would bring to the US Senate.

    • Best Candidate

      Frankly, that is a much better argument than some nebulous "better chance" argument. I appreciate you making the case in that way.
      I do think Abby has three clear areas in which she can lead: women's issues, labor issues, and the issues affecting young people. She did each of those quite successfully in both the Iowa and US House.
      Thank you for changing what I find to be a very frustrating narrative!

  • Keeping it classy

    I'm not on social media, so my exposure to the Senate Democratic Primary campaign has mostly been via fliers and direct mail, email messages, and TV ads. I have seen no evidence that the candidates are attacking each other, for which I'm very grateful. Thank you, Abby, Glenn, and Mike.

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