IA-Sen: Franken Draws On Military Connections For Fundraising

By Elizabeth Meyer

November 4, 2019

U.S. Senate candidate Michael Franken, whose military career took him around the world and to Washington, D.C., has found his background handy in helping fund his race for the Democratic nomination.

Franken, a retired Navy admiral, was the last of the four candidates to enter the race against Republican Sen. Joni Ernst. Because he declared his candidacy at the end of August, he was able to fundraise for only five weeks of the third fundraising quarter, bringing in $150,314.

He ended the quarter with $107,129 in cash-on-hand.

“Overall, we’re very pleased with what we put together in an abbreviated manner,” said a spokesman for Franken’s campaign, in a statement.

According to Federal Election Commission filings, individual Virginia donors contributed the most to Franken in Q3 at $42,125. Iowa was second, with $24,818 in contributions, following by Washington, D.C., at $10,150.

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Franken spent more than 36 years in the military, traveling the world as a naval officer.

He grew up in Lebanon, Iowa, and attended high school in Sioux Center, but spent much of his adult life out east, opening up a slew of potential donors beyond his Northwest Iowa roots.

Several people gave the $2,800 max individual contribution, including G. Philip Stephenson, chairman of an investment firm and an ocean conservationist from Alexandria, Virginia. Carter Ham, a retired Army general and current president of the Association of the United States Army, also was a top contributor.

Admiral Robert Natter of Florida donated $1,000 and Admiral Jonathan Greenert, a former Chief of Naval Operations from Maryland, contributed $500.

Vicki Huddleston, who served as U.S. Ambassador to Madagascar under President Bill Clinton and Ambassador to Mali under President George W. Bush, was among his donors, as was Des Moines-area environmental activist Channing Dutton and former state Rep. Nate Willems of Linn County.

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In Iowa, Mark and Debbie Hooyer of Sioux Center donated a combined $5,600 to Franken. Jessica Vanden Berg, a Democratic consultant and founder of Maverick Strategies in Des Moines, contributed $1,000.

Franken also contributed $5,600 of his own funds to the campaign and received thousands of dollars in donations through ActBlue, Democrats’ national fundraising platform.

Franken was the first of Iowa’s Senate candidates to launch a TV ad this year, knocking Ernst for her support of President Donald Trump.

He did not receive any contributions from leadership PACs or PACs associated with corporations, according to FEC filings.

Eddie Mauro and Theresa Greenfield, who entered the race in late spring and early summer, respectively, lead the primary field in fundraising, each topping $1 million in Q3. Kimberly Graham, who largely relies on small-dollar donors, brought in about $23,000.


By Elizabeth Meyer
Posted 11/5/19



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