Three candidates, former Rep. Abby Finkenauer, former Admiral Mike Franken and Dr. Glenn Hurst, are running for the Democratic nomination for US Senate to unseat Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley.
All three announced their candidacies last year, and all have spoken passionately about the key factor that motivated them to put their name on the ballot for 2022.
On the Republican side, state Sen. Jim Carlin is challenging Grassley for the Republican nomination.
The primary election happens June 7 and early, in-person voting is now open at county auditors’ offices.
Hurst said he sees running for office as a natural progression from the political involvement he’s had since 2017, which includes being a member of the Minden City Council, chair of the Iowa Democratic Party’s Rural Caucus and founding a branch of Indivisible, a progressive organization, in Southwest Iowa.
After former President Donald Trump was elected, Hurst noticed how upset his daughter and others in his community were, and he decided to return to the political activism he’d done when he was in college protesting Apartheid in South Africa.
Ultimately, Hurst says he wants to energize Democrats and inspire them to vote by running on a progressive ticket and supporting policies which would expand health care, help mitigate climate change, and bolster rural America.
Finkenauer has said she was motivated to run when she watched insurrectionists attack the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. At that point and after, when Congressional Republicans downplayed the insurrection attempt or didn’t outright denounce it, Finkenauer saw the need for new leadership.
Finkenauer got her start in politics serving two terms in the Iowa House of Representatives from 2015 to 2019. After that, she served a term in the US House of Representatives and represented the first district from 2019 to 2021. She and Rep. Cindy Axne were the first women from Iowa to be elected to the US House in 2018.
Her main issues focus on labor and the working class of Iowans, and Finkenauer has frequently said she’s running for everyday Iowans to have a voice in the senate and to get Grassley out.
Franken has said his primary motivation for running is the dysfunction he sees in DC and especially in Grassley, who has accepted Trump’s nomination, despite Trump spreading lies about the 2020 election and not condemning the insurrection attempt.
As a retired three-star vice admiral for the US Navy, Franken has said protecting democracy is important to him, and he wants to continue doing that work he’s done all his life in the US Senate.
To him that means running on a broad platform to expand health care, protect people’s rights and to improve the quality of life for Iowans and Americans overall. It also means replacing candidates who no longer stand for those values.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story reported Abby Finkenauer served one term in the Iowa House. The error has been corrected.
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