With seven weeks to go until the June 2 primary, retired admiral Mike Franken is getting a boost from a collection of local Democratic Party leaders, activists and a county auditor. Sixteen of them endorsed Franken on Tuesday in his bid to become the Democratic nominee and take on Joni Ernst.
Among the group is Bill Brauch, an Iowa Democratic Party state central committee member; Jan Bauer, an Iowa DNC member; Joel Miller, the Linn County Auditor; and Daryl Beall, a former state senator. Also backing Franken are ten Democratic Party county chairs, including those for Linn, Cerro Gordo and Webster counties.
“He’s the right candidate for these challenging times,” Brauch said in a statement. “In my view, Mike is the most highly qualified candidate for the U.S. Senate from Iowa in a generation. He understands what it takes to get things done and he’s got the skills to do it.”
Despite being a first-time candidate, Franken has drawn significant interest from Democratic activists during the primary thanks in large part to his unique background. Franken is a retired three-star admiral who spent over three decades in military service, and he grew up in a tiny community in Sioux County, the most conservative county in the state. Now calling Sioux City home, he’s pitched himself as someone who can win back voters in rural areas of the state.
Franken also got some support late last week from a fellow Navy officer who already successfully made the jump to Congress. Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia, who narrowly ousted a Republican incumbent in 2018, endorsed Franken in his primary.
The full list of new Franken endorsers are:
Bill Brauch – State Central Committee Member
Jan Bauer – DNC Member at-Large
Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor
Former State Senator Daryl Beall – Fort Dodge
JoAnn Hardy – Cerro Gordo County Chair
Randy Black – North Iowa Wing Ding Chair
Julie Geopfert – Webster County Chair
Bret Nilles – Linn County Chair
Donna Duvall – Jackson Country Chair
Kathy Winter – Osceola County Chair
Ken Mertes – Monona County Chair
Twyla Peacock – Van Buren County Chair
Cheryl Jones – Davis County Chair
Kathy Eck – Humboldt County Vice Chair
Susie Drish- Jefferson County Chair
Chris Adcock – Page County