Contenders in Iowa Attempt to Unseat Sen. Grassley

Contenders in Iowa Attempt to Unseat Sen. Grassley chuck grassley speaks at a senate confirmation hearing Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

By Micah Hart | Friday, 03 June 2022 09:05 AM

Iowa is no stranger to contested and high-profile elections, and the 2022 U.S. Senate primary will be no different. Three Democrats and one Republican will compete in the primaries on June 7 with the hopes of unseating senior senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican.

Not only does Grassley, 88, hold the advantage of incumbency, he dominates the contest financially. According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, Grassley’s war chest held $4,320,715.95 as of May 18.

Democrat and former representative Abby Finkenauer was next with $559,466.82. Grassley has four times more cash than the next leading candidate of either party. Nevertheless, each hopeful believes they can oust Grassley, a seven-term senator.

State Sen. Jim Carlin, Grassley’s Republican primary challenger, told Newsmax that the senator did "some good things but over the last six years, his votes have not been too conservative.”

Carlin noted that Grassley was given a liberty score (Conservative Review’s rating according to what it perceives as a lawmaker’s record on freedom-related issues) of F, and that Grassley supported President Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.

Carlin also criticized Grassley for supporting Biden’s controversial nominations of Pete Buttigieg, Secretary of Transportation, and Michael Regan, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. For these reasons and others, Carlin said Iowa needs a change.

“My policy, my perspective, and my agenda is the America-first agenda,” Carlin said.

Carlin, however, failed to receive the coveted endorsement from former President Donald Trump, who synonymous with "America First." Trump is backing Grassley, but Carlin remains confident that Iowans are ready for change.

Democratic hopeful Dr. Glenn Hurst also is convinced that Iowa is ready for something new. Deeming himself the “progressive” in the race, Hurst said he is the only Democrat capable of defeating Grassley.

“Democrats lost at the top of the ticket in the last four general elections in Iowa,” Hurst told Newsmax. “Centrists lose. Democrats can’t run the same type of candidate. We need to run a progressive.”

When asked what improvements must be made in Washington, Hurst said: “Our federal government must function more efficiently.”

Hurst said he plans to advocate for doing away with the filibuster, expanding the Supreme Court to 19 justices (two justices selected every two years over 10 years), term limits for committees and leadership in the Senate, and removing partisanship from the Senate rules.

As for Finkenauer, the former congresswoman’s website said: “Abby Finkenauer is running to bring true public service and hard work back to Iowa’s Senate seat – so that the people of Iowa have a real champion and a fighter for working families."

Rounding out the three-candidate Democratic primary, retired Admiral Mike Franken said he is “running for the Senate to take on corporate special interests, make Iowa a leader in creating good jobs in clean and renewable energy, and make health care more affordable.”

The primary will be watched nationwide, as Grassley – Iowa’s longest-serving senator after 42 years – fights to maintain his seat. In a year when progressive Democrats prevail over centrists in primaries more often than not, Iowa’s Democratic primary will be watched carefully to see if the trend continues.

Micah Hart, a Newsmax intern, is studying politics and journalism at Hillsdale College in Michigan.