Why Mike Franken thinks he can beat Chuck Grassley

The Democratic field for U.S. Senate appears to be set at last, with retired Vice Admiral Mike Franken’s campaign launch on October 14. Franken is the fifth Democrat to join the field, following Dave Muhlbauer, Abby Finkenauer, Glenn Hurst, and Bob Krause.

Although he got a later start than his primary competitors, Franken enters the race with a strong base, having received 68,851 votes (nearly 25 percent) in last year’s four-way primary for U.S. Senate. Nominee Theresa Greenfield benefited from massive establishment support and some $7 million in outside spending before the June 2020 primary.

During an October 14 telephone interview, Franken discussed his decision to run and his stance on some major issues of the day.

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The one truthful thing Donald Trump said in Des Moines

Former President Donald Trump made at least one undeniably accurate statement during his latest lengthy rant filled with lies, xenophobia, and appeals to white grievance.

While endorsing Senator Chuck Grassley’s re-election in Des Moines on October 9, Trump said of Iowa’s senior senator,

When I’ve needed him for help he was always there. […]

He was with us all the way, every time I needed something. You know, he’s very [persnickety] sometimes, right? He’s tough. But when I needed him, he was always there.

That’s for sure.

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Bob Krause launches third U.S. Senate campaign

The Iowa Democratic field for U.S. Senate expanded again this week, as veterans advocate Bob Krause joined the field. In a video enclosed below, Krause said he was running in order to “elevate the battle of ideas,” such as saving the country “from a dictatorial future,” climate change, environmental degradation, “economic elitism,” and international threats.

Krause served in the state House for six years during the 1970s, representing a district in north central Iowa. He has run for U.S. Senate twice before, finishing second in the 2010 Democratic primary with about 13 percent of the vote and fourth in the 2016 primary with 6.6 percent.

He’s the fourth Democrat seeking the nomination. Abby Finkenauer is the front-runner, and Dave Muhlbauer and Glenn Hurst are also running.

Mike Franken, who was the runner-up in the 2020 Democratic Senate primary, is widely expected to announce another campaign in the coming weeks. Franken tweeted on October 8, “Appears Senator Grassley was very much involved and aware of attempts to overturn the election. Amazing that we now, after a generation in the US Senate, see his true colors. Time to shut the barn door on that career.”

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Iowa GOP lawmakers demand actions to overturn 2020 election

Two Iowa Republican legislators have joined a multi-state effort demanding steps to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

State Senator Jim Carlin and State Representative Sandy Salmon were among 41 legislators from sixteen states to sign the September 24 letter, enclosed in full below. It begins by wrongly claiming state lawmakers are “vested with the plenary power” under the U.S. Constitution to oversee presidential elections.

The signers assert that “our representative republic suffered a corrupted 2020 election,” and therefore “all 50 states need to be forensically audited,” with voter rolls “scrubbed.” If such measures “prove an inaccurate election was held,” the lawmakers want “each state to decertify its electors where it has been shown the elections were certified prematurely and inaccurately.” (The Constitution grants no authority to states to decertify past presidential elections.)

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Iowa Republicans better never bash another "career politician"

Chuck Grassley hasn’t been acting like a senator who plans to retire. So it was no surprise when he confirmed at 4:00 am that he’s running for an eighth U.S. Senate term. In a tweet from his campaign account, Grassley said he and his wife Barbara made the decision because he has “a lot more to do, for Iowa.”

Grassley never lost an election hasn’t lost an election since 1956, and barring some cataclysmic event, he’s not going to lose next year. Everything stacks in his favor: name ID, fundraising capacity, a comfortable lead over his best-known Democratic challenger, Iowans’ tendency to re-elect incumbents, generally favorable trends for Iowa GOP candidates, and the reality that midterms are usually tough for the president’s party. (Though State Senator Jim Carlin is staying in the race, I don’t see any path for Grassley’s Republican primary opponent.)

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America’s best pollster has bad news for Democrats. Is she right?

Dan Guild: No other recent poll shows Joe Biden’s approval as low among independents as Selzer’s new Iowa poll.

The latest Iowa Poll by Selzer & Co for the Des Moines Register and Mediacom is full of bad news for Democrats. President Joe Biden’s job approval in Iowa is a measly 31 percent, with 62 percent of respondents disapproving. Governor Kim Reynolds’ job approval is 53 percent, with 43 percent disapproving. U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley leads his most likely Democratic opponent, Abby Finkenauer, by 55 percent to 37 percent.

If Selzer is right, the bad news extends far beyond Iowa. This polling suggests Democratic fortunes in 2022 look abysmal.

I have the greatest respect for Ann Selzer, and the last time I suggested she was wrong, I was wrong. 

So why do I think she is wrong now?

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