Former Crawford County supervisor to challenge Sen. Chuck Grassley in 2022

By: - May 24, 2021 2:07 pm

Screenshot of Democrat Dave Muhlbauer’s campaign announcement video.

Rivals to U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley are lining up as the 87-year-old incumbent deliberates another term.

Democrat Dave Muhlbauer released a video Monday announcing his candidacy for Grassley’s Senate seat. Muhlbauer, a farmer, served as a Crawford County supervisor for four years. He lost re-election in November.

“You treat people fairly. You respect them,” Muhlbauer said of being a county supervisor. “Someone might have a different opinion than you do, (but) we’re all in this together.”

Muhlbauer is a fifth-generation farmer and a third-generation politician. His father, Dan Muhlbauer, was a state representative from Manilla from 2011 to 2014. His grandfather Louis Muhlbauer served in the same position from 1983 to 1992. All three men also served on the Crawford County Board of Supervisors.

Muhlbauer described the family as “the old-school, farming labor Democrats.” He said the October death of his father inspired him to run for Senate.

“To me, it’s now or never,” Muhlbauer said in the video. “… He had a lot of plans that he wanted to do, and he didn’t get to do them all.”

Grassley has not yet announced whether he will seek re-election in 2022 for what would be his eighth Senate term. If Grassley sought and won re-election, he would be 95 at the end of his term. A Des Moines Register Iowa Poll in March found that a majority of Iowans hope Grassley chooses not to run again.

State Sen. Jim Carlin, R-Sioux City, announced in February that he would seek the GOP nomination for the seat. Carlin is serving his third term in the state Senate. He has staked a claim as a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump, frequently evoking debunked claims of election fraud.

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Katie Akin
Katie Akin

Katie Akin is a former Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter. Katie began her career as an intern at PolitiFact, debunking viral fake news and fact-checking state and national politicians. She moved to Iowa in 2019 for a politics internship at the Des Moines Register, where she assisted with Iowa Caucus coverage, multimedia projects and the Register’s Iowa Poll. She became the Register’s retail reporter in early 2020, chronicling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Iowa’s restaurants and retailers.