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Fri May 8, 2020, 10:22 AM

Des Moines Register endorses Mike Franken for US Senate in Democratic Primary

The Register's endorsement: Mike Franken for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate
The 117th U.S. Congress will convene in January 2021. It may be the most important Congress in history.

Members must help navigate this country through a novel coronavirus pandemic and address the weaknesses and inequalities it has exposed — from an underfunded public health system to a porous safety net for American workers. Congress must focus on restoring the economy and tackling federal debt exacerbated by reckless tax cuts and pandemic-related bailouts.

Who will Iowans send to Washington to represent us? Specifically, will voters reelect or replace Republican U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst?

The time to start making that decision is now.

Many Iowans are requesting absentee ballots for the June 2 primary election, when registered Democrats will vote to decide which of the remaining four candidates will run against Ernst in November.

The Des Moines Register editorial board endorses Mike Franken for this job.

The retired three-star admiral is the candidate who is the most qualified, experienced and ready to hit the ground running. As the nation faces unprecedented health and economic crises, he has come back to Iowa just as the times demand someone like him.

Franken was born and raised in rural Sioux County. He worked on farm equipment and trucks at his dad’s shop, and was a hired farm hand, welder, construction worker and truck driver. He spent three years working at a meatpacking company during college.

He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Nebraska and a master’s degree from the College of Physics at the Naval Postgraduate School. His background includes professional studies at MIT, the Darden School of Business and the Brookings Institute.

What was supposed to be a short time in the military lasted 36 years. He lived on four continents as a naval officer and visited much of the world. His service included commissioning the USS Winston S. Churchill, commanding a squadron of ships and an international task force at sea, and serving as the ground task force commander for 4,000 personnel on the continent of Africa. He also led a federal effort to find and identify fallen service members.

Franken credits his formative years in Iowa — a place he said “you really get imprinted with your morality and choices” — with providing the best preparation for serving Iowans.

Yet his many years of military service in Washington, D.C., including his work as the first military officer on U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy’s staff, also have provided exceptional preparation for serving in Congress.

Franken oversaw infrastructure and environmental compliance issues, drafted budgets and immersed himself in senior policy making, strategy and planning roles for the U.S. Department of Defense. He was the chief of legislative affairs for the Navy, where he oversaw authorization of a $150 billion budget.

After retiring from the Navy in 2017, he returned to Iowa. He and his wife of 30 years, Jordan, live in Sioux City.

“I am not a practiced politician,” he told the editorial board during a recent virtual interview, but he understands Washington. He understands that Congress desperately needs members who will “finally maintain some principled oversight.”

He has focused his campaign on addressing climate change as an existential threat, providing comprehensive health care for everyone and working for the interests of Iowans rather than special interests.

The Democrats offer good candidates in this race. The Register interviewed all of them using video conference tools.
Kimberly Graham is a smart attorney who would use her seemingly boundless energy to continue fighting for children and families.
Eddie Mauro is experienced in business and community building.
Theresa Greenfield understands the struggles of working Iowans.
Cal Woods, noteworthy for his dedication to fighting climate change, recently dropped out and endorsed Franken.
All would make fine members of Congress, but none matches the credentials or potential for statesmanship of Mike Franken.

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Reply Des Moines Register endorses Mike Franken for US Senate in Democratic Primary (Original post)
SharonClark May 2020 OP
exboyfil May 2020 #1
xmas74 May 2020 #2
Celerity May 2020 #3
xmas74 May 2020 #4
Celerity May 2020 #5
SharonClark May 2020 #6

Response to SharonClark (Original post)

Fri May 8, 2020, 10:45 AM

1. He matches up best against Ernst

Takes her greatest strength away (military experience). He has legislative aide experience along with an outstanding record of executive leadership.

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Response to SharonClark (Original post)

Fri May 8, 2020, 10:50 AM

2. Greenfield got most of the Labor endorsement

Last year.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #2)

Fri May 8, 2020, 10:58 AM

3. Greenfield has the vast bulk of the big endorsements so far

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Response to Celerity (Reply #3)

Fri May 8, 2020, 11:00 AM

4. I met her

She was smart. She worked the Labor endorsements a year ago.

She's now only one point behind Ernst.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #4)

Fri May 8, 2020, 11:38 AM

5. if Pete endorsed her, that is good enough for me (and I so rarely put much stock in endorsements)

The only federal office candidates I every was genuinely excited to vote for (I turned 18 in 2014, so missed out on Obama)


My House Rep Ted Lieu who I adore (I am registered at my father's house in Los Angeles)
Kamala Harris for Senate in 2016
Kevin de León for Senate in 2018 (not so excited but I so wanted him to replace Feinstein, but he lost to her in the run-off)
Buttigieg for POTUS in 2020 (I voted overseas ballot before he dropped out, but still so proud to vote for a fellow LGBTQ)

plus Newsom in 2018 for Governor

that's it

I give money to many out of state candidates that I like, especially the Senate this year, we are fucked if we do not flip it.

I have given to 8 Dems (Greenfield included) of the 13 flippable (some more than others) Senate races, waiting to see who wins the two Georgia Senate seat primaries, plus waiting to see if Sibelius gets in for Kansas (she is our only hope) and Tim Mcgraw in TN (he was our best hope by far.) Both are not going to run though, grrrr. Begich in Alaska isn't running, so that is shot, we are going to get crushed, unfortunately, as we will have no Dem candidate.

So frustrated with Sibelius and McGraw,and to a lesser extent with Begich, Abrams and Yates, all of whom refused to run. (Yates and Abrams are in VP contention and AG (Yates) contention, so I cut them some slack.) The other 3, none, especially the first two. Those are both OPEN seats (KS and TN), and both would be favourites or at least 50/50 to win the general if they entered, ffs.

I was not thrilled at all with Sanders or Clinton in 2016 (I was for O'Malley but he dropped out before we got to vote for him, and Biden didn't run), but I voted and worked my ass off (with expats in London) for Clinton, but also had a really bad feeling the last month when they went to the 'expand-the-map' bullshit to try and rub it in Rump's face, plus the double whammy of Mueller and the now-forgotten massive Obamacare premium increases right before Mueller that started the poll slide that Mueller then really kicked into overdrive with his bullshit. I still have no idea why they did not wait 2 weeks to announce those increases, until AFTER the election, surely they could have thought that far ahead and sorted it.

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Response to Celerity (Reply #3)

Fri May 8, 2020, 05:50 PM

6. Greenfield is an excellent candidate and is currently in the lead.

I'm just surprised by how many long time Democratic activists I know are supporting Franken.

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