DES MOINES, Iowa – Former U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa, is planning a run for U.S. Senate according to two sources close to Finkenauer, Politico revealed in a story published Thursday.
The 32-year-old one-term Congresswoman from Dubuque was defeated by then-Republican State Rep. Ashley Hinson of Marion in 2020, two years after Finkenauer ousted Republican two-term incumbent Rod Blum in 2018.
It is uncertain whether U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, the 87-year-old Republican who has served in the Senate since 1981, will run for re-election or retire. Grassley told The Iowa Torch that he plans to make and announce that decision sometime this fall.
After leaving office, Finkenauer joined the leadership council of The Next 50. This liberal organization seeks to “build the most politically engaged community of young citizens in the United States, rooted in a commitment to justice, equity, and opportunity for all.”
Before her election to the U.S. House of Representatives, Finkenauer served in the Iowa House of Representatives representing Iowa House District 99 from 2015 to 2019.
Finkenauer is not the only Democrat considering a run for U.S. Senate. U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, has not ruled out running for governor or U.S. Senate. Retired Navy Admiral Michael Franken, who lost the Democratic U.S. Senate primary in 2020 to Theresa Greenfield, is reportedly considering another run. Dave Muhlbauer, a farmer and former Crawford County Supervisor, is the first Democrat to announce his candidacy. He released a launch video last week.
Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann dismissed the news of Finkenauer’s likely candidacy.
“Let me be as clear as possible – Abby Finkenauer will never represent the state of Iowa in the U.S. Senate,” he said in a released statement.
“Iowans know Finkenauer and her disastrous record, it’s why they rejected her last November. No matter how she tries to reinvent herself, Iowans will see that her values and priorities are just the same as AOC’s and Chuck Schumer’s. Finkenauer will fall in line with Democrat leadership every chance she gets in hopes to gain media notoriety. It’s why she supports radical provisions of the Green New Deal and voted with AOC 90 percent of the time,” Kaufmann added. “I look forward to seeing even more Iowans reject Finkenauer once again.”
If Grassley runs for re-election, he will have a primary challenge from State Senator Jim Carlin, R-Sioux City. If Grassley wins that primary, he remains very popular in the state and will be extremely difficult for Democrats to unseat in a state that has seen Republican gains in the state legislature and Congress. An open seat will likely draw even more Democrats and Republican candidates to the race.