Franken defeats Finkenauer in Iowa Democratic Senate primary
Retired Navy Adm. Mike Franken on Tuesday was projected to win the Democratic nomination to take on Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in November.
The Associated Press projected Franken’s victory around 10:13 p.m. ET.
Franken, who’s never held elected office before, previously sought the Democratic Senate nomination in Iowa in 2020.
Despite his status as a relative newcomer to politics, Franken gained considerable momentum in the primary in recent weeks. He outraised his main rival, former Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa), in both of the last two fundraising periods and heavily outspent her on advertising.
Franken’s win is a blow to Finkenauer, who flipped a GOP-held House seat in 2018, only to lose reelection two years later.
With the nomination locked up, Franken will advance to the November general election. But unseating Grassley is likely to prove a major challenge.
The seven-term incumbent is a well-known staple in Iowa politics and has a history of winning reelection by wide margins. The last time Grassley was on the ballot, in 2016, he coasted to victory with more than 60 percent of the vote.
Grassley also has a sizable campaign bank account. His latest federal campaign finance filing shows him with more than $4.3 million in the bank. Franken, by comparison, reported having just about $253,000 in his campaign coffers.
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