Michael Franken, Democratic Candidate For Senate, Campaigns In Glenwood
Retired U.S. Navy Admiral Michael Franken attracted a curious crowd of more than 30 people during a campaign stop in Glenwood last Tuesday.
Franken is the Democratic candidate challenging Republican U.S. Senator Charles Grassley in the November general election.
“I’m a strong-willed, substantial Democrat that demands we get things done for the American people,” he said. “I go to Washington, D.C., owing no one except for the electors of Iowa and this nation.”
Franken is a retired three-star admiral who spent over three decades in military service and grew up in a small community in Sioux County, one of the most conservative areas in the state. His unique background gives the Democratic Party hope that he’s a candidate who can win over voters in rural areas of Iowa that have traditionally voted Republican.
Franken conceded during his Glenwood visit that he doesn’t have the name recognition of Grassley but insisted his polling numbers are on the rise.
“My campaign strategy is to knock on every Dem (Democratic) door once, Republican door twice and Independent door thrice,” he said. “My job is not to represent Democrats but to represent everyone. I will work equally hard for everyone.”
Grassley, 88, is the second oldest member of the Senate and has represented Iowa since 1981. Democrats believe Grassley’s age and his career as a “lifelong politician” make him vulnerable.
“Depending upon which poll you believe, I am as much as 8 points behind or as little as 4 points behind,” Franken said. “That was as of three weeks ago and we believe it’s getting closer.”
Franken said if elected, Iowans would have a senator working for the best interest of their state and their nation, not a political party and or special interest. During his career in the Navy, Franken said he worked all over the world as a commanding officer in strategy and policy positions. He noted that he served under both Republican and Democratic secretaries of defense and presidents. He held legislative positions for presidents George W. Bush and Barrack Obama and did “pro bono” work for the government during Donald Trump’s presidency.
“We worked inside the Senate to get things done back when we spoke to each other, which is happening less these days,” he said. “My job is to bridge them (Republicans and Democrats).”
During his appearance in Glenwood, Franken addressed multiple topics, including foreign policy, partisan politics, abortion, women’s rights, responsible gun ownership and the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
“I entered this race on the heels of Jan. 6 because if you think that was not an affront on our Democracy, on our way of life, on our type of government, you’d be wrong,” he said. “And, it’s not over. It’s being normalized, rationalized, routinized.
“If you can say anything about me, I performed to the best of my ability for a long time internationally to preserve our way of life and now I’m doing this internally. I will be a steel-jawed individual for all such matters.”
Franken promised his Glenwood audience that if elected, he’ll serve in the best interest of Iowa with no allegiances to donors, lobbyists or outside political interests.
“We don’t take corporate money, we don’t take dark money,” he said. “I’m not a fan of Citizens United at all. I’m a fan of citizens of this country demanding that we perform to their satisfaction or we leave.”