Democrat Mike Franken is the first Iowa U.S. Senate candidate of the 2022 election cycle to hit the airwaves, launching television ads in the Des Moines and Cedar Rapids media markets this week.
Franken, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, is a retired Navy admiral from Sioux City. He is challenging fellow Democrats Abby Finkenauer, a former congresswoman from Cedar Rapids, and Glenn Hurst, a physician and city council member from Minden.
The 60-second ad highlights Franken’s upbringing in rural northwest Iowa, his military record and his history of service under President Barack Obama and U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy before retiring in 2017 “instead of taking orders from Donald Trump.”
“Over the horizon and closer to home, our values are being put to the test — on Ukraine, attacks on democracy and voting rights, inflation, threats to health care and women’s rights,” Franken narrates in the ad. “I’m Michael Franken, and I’ve seen over a lifetime that struggles like these show us who we really are.”
The ad will air on broadcast, cable and satellite TV in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. A digital version will launch statewide on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram with targeted ad buys on YouTube, Google and other streaming platforms.
The launch follows a strong fundraising period in which Franken outraised Finkenauer, bringing in $1.4 million compared to Finkenauer’s $1.15 million. The two far outpaced Hurst, who brought in about $46,000 during the last quarter.
The ads will be critical in boosting Franken’s name recognition across the state as he vies to topple Finkenauer, who entered the race as the perceived frontrunner.
According to a March Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll, Franken was viewed favorably by 21% of Iowans and unfavorably by 11%. That leaves about a third of Iowans who didn’t know enough about him to form an opinion.
In the same poll, Finkenauer had a slight advantage with a 30% favorable rating and 24% unfavorable rating with just over half who didn’t know enough about her to form an opinion.
The primary election is scheduled for June 7.