Michael Franken launches ad campaign in Iowa Democratic Senate race

It's first one paid for by a candidate in 5-way primary

Michael Franken (right), a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate, visits with Paul Deninger, Jenni
Michael Franken (right), a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate, visits with Paul Deninger, Jennifer Oliver and Ann Taylor at an October 2019 house party at the Iowa City home of Kathleen and Jim Jespersen. (James Q. Lynch/The Gazette)

Michael Franken, one of five candidates for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination, is launching the first primary election ad paid for by a candidate.

Franken, a retired Navy admiral from Sioux City, is launching the six-figure ad buy Tuesday. The 30-second spot will appear on broadcast and cable television and digital platforms from April 21 to June 1, according to his campaign manager, Kimberley Strope-Boggus.

Franken is in as five-way race for the Democratic nomination to face Republican Sen. Joni Ernst, who is seeking re-election to a second term. The others are Kimberly Graham of Indianola, Theresa Greenfield and Eddie Mauro, both of Des Moines, and Cal Woods of West Des Moines.

The winner of the June 2 Democratic primary will face Ernst. To win the primary, a candidate must get at least 35 percent of the vote.

Although the Senate Majority PAC already has run more than $3 million in ads boosting Greenfield, Franken’s ad is the first paid for by one of the five candidates, Strope-Boggus said.

Standing on a narrow spit of land at the confluence of the Missouri and Big Sioux rivers west of Sioux City, Franken in the ad says that just as the rivers that are separated by more than 100 miles at some points come together, “now’s the time for America to work as one.”

Unfortunately, he says, President Donald Trump and Ernst are “failing to lead us there.”


Franken, who grew up in northwest Iowa before spending 37 years in the Navy, goes on to highlight his work as a commander to bring people together “to take on terrorists, Ebola and hurricanes from Hugo to Katrina.”

“We need new leaders to tackle the crisis today and to solve the big problems that we struggled with before to build a better future for everyone,” Franken concludes.

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