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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I'll fight on that hill

Laura Hubka chairs the Howard County Democrats and is vice chair of the Iowa Democratic Party’s Disability Caucus. She volunteered for Bernie Sanders’ campaign before the 2016 caucuses and endorsed Pete Buttigieg this cycle. -promoted by Laura Belin

My heart goes out to all my Bernie-supporting friends today. They are some of the most loving and inclusive people I’ve known.

I do wish people would stop using “Bernie bro” to describe them. Because it’s not the reality of most of the people who support Bernie. I was one of them myself in 2016.

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One Iowa Democratic county chair's view: The work, worksheets, and disaster

Laura Hubka chairs the Howard County Democrats and is vice chair of the Iowa Democratic Party’s Veterans Caucus. -promoted by Laura Belin

How many of us spent hours and hours training for this caucus? I did. I also asked all the precinct chairs in my county to attend meetings and mock caucuses over the many weeks leading up to the caucus.  All these wonderful volunteers spent time and energy learning and reading the booklet.  They all asked questions that were on point, and I am so proud of them all. 

The night of February 3, we held the most organized caucus we had ever run in my county. At the end of the evening, as I went around collecting packets, I saw smiling faces and lots of real energy.  New faces and familiar faces, all thanking us for doing such a great job. I felt hope for November!

Then it started happening. …

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Please, for the sake of the nation (and my heart, body and soul)

Laura Hubka chairs the Howard County Democrats, is vice chair of the Iowa Democratic Party’s Disability Caucus, and is the first district liaison to the party for the Veterans Caucus. -promoted by desmoinesdem

I decided to go to Obama.org just to check it out after looking at one of President Barack Obama’s posts on Twitter (my heart jumped and sank at writing that last statement). It was full of videos from the campaign in 2008. Almost all of it from Iowa. Young people, music, chanting and all the excitement of what could be. The hope, the change, the light in the peoples faces. I had to fight back the tears.

I feel like something inside me has faded. A light inside me is dim. I am afraid that the winds of change from 2016 have blown out my candle. I keep trying to light it but it is like lighting a wet wick. I can’t seem to find a hot enough fire. My heart literally aches.

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The 17 most-viewed Bleeding Heartland posts of 2017

I had mixed feelings about compiling last year’s review of highest-traffic posts. Being hyper-aware of clicks and views can be demoralizing, because the most labor-intensive stories rarely attract the most attention.

On the other hand, it’s fascinating to see what strikes a chord with readers. A preview of stores coming to an outlet mall in Altoona was the fourth most-read Des Moines Register article of 2017. The second most popular New York Times story contained highlights from a boxing match. And this year’s highest-traffic piece at USA Today was about the “kiss cam” at the NFL Pro Bowl.

During an unusually eventful year in Iowa politics, some hot topics at Bleeding Heartland were predictable. But surprises were lurking in the traffic numbers on posts published during 2017 (418 written by me, 164 by other authors).

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Recognizing Bleeding Heartland's talented 2017 guest authors

Bleeding Heartland published 140 guest posts by 81 authors in 2016, a record since the blog’s creation in 2007.

I’m happy to report that the bar has been raised: 83 authors contributed 164 guest posts to this website during 2017. Their work covered an incredible range of local, statewide, and national topics.

Some contributors drew on their professional expertise and research, writing in a detached and analytical style. Others produced passionate and intensely personal commentaries, sometimes drawing on painful memories or family history.

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