U.S. Senate candidate Franken outraises Finkenauer in first quarter of 2022, but trails incumbent Grassley

By: - April 19, 2022 11:34 am

Incumbents in Iowa's D.C. delegation had a cash on hand advantage in campaign finance reports. (Photo by Getty Images)

Mike Franken was the top-raising Democratic candidate for Iowa’s U.S. Senate race in the first three months of 2022, according to campaign finance reports. But Franken and other Democratic competitors still lagged behind incumbent Sen. Chuck Grassley, who raised almost $1.7 million in the first quarter.

The campaign finance reports come just seven weeks before the June 7 primary, when Iowa voters will choose their party’s candidates for the general election. Grassley is running for his eighth Senate term, but he faces opposition from Democrats and within his own Republican Party. Reports from the Federal Election Commission show Grassley has maintained a financial advantage so far this year: In addition to raising $1.68 million in the first quarter of 2022, Grassley also reported a hefty war chest of $4.6 million cash on hand — more than four times more than Franken reported.

The Grassley campaign touted the fundraising report on Monday, tweeting a statement that they were “sowing the seeds in fertile ground for victory on Election Day.”

“At a time when fuel costs are skyrocketing and inflation is hitting a 40-year high, it’s even more meaningful to see strong support from across the state,” Grassley said.

Among the Democrats vying for the position, Franken, a retired Navy admiral, raised the most money in the first months of 2022, collecting nearly $1.4 million. Franken said the fundraising was evidence that Iowans “are excited about my candidacy and want to put Charles Grassley out of office.”

“Our campaign has shown that we have the ability to secure the necessary funding and that coupled with the enthusiasm I am seeing from Democrats on the ground in Iowa should build confidence and be a beacon for hope for all Iowans that this race is winnable,” Franken said in a statement.

Finkenauer raised $1.15 million in the first quarter – about $240,000 less than Franken. She just last week won an Iowa Supreme Court case that will allow her to appear on the June primary ballot.

The final Democratic competitor in the race, physician Glenn Hurst, lagged far behind his peers, raising just $33,793 in the first quarter.

Grassley faces a primary challenge from state Sen. Jim Carlin, R-Sioux City. Carlin raised $98,222 in the first quarter – about one-seventeenth of Grassley’s fundraising for the same time period.

Among Democrats, Franken also reported the most cash on hand at the end of March, with just over $1 million in the bank. He announced the launch of a new television ad on Monday — the first Senate candidate to do so this cycle, according to a campaign news release.

Hinson, Axne outraise challengers for House seats

Incumbents for Iowa’s House seats were also sitting pretty in the first quarter finance reports.

In the newly drawn 1st District, Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks did not raise quite as much as her Democratic competitor, state Rep. Christina Bohannan. Miller-Meeks raised $439,696 to Bohannan’s $513,698. But Miller-Meeks had more than twice as much cash on hand than Bohannan did at the end of the quarter.

Rep. Ashley Hinson, incumbent in the soon-to-be 2nd District, outraised her Democratic challenger, state Sen. Liz Mathis. Hinson raised about $960,000 compared to Mathis’s $715,545. Hinson also had more cash on hand, with $1.78 million in the bank.

Rep. Cindy Axne, the only Democrat in Iowa’s current D.C. delegation, outraised state Sen. Zach Nunn and financial services professional Nicole Hasso in the first quarter. Axne has the most cash on hand of any of Iowa’s House incumbents, with $2.56 million in her war chest.

Republican Gary Leffler has also announced his intent to challenge Axne, but his campaign did not file a financial report with the FEC.

Rep. Randy Feenstra raised the least of Iowa’s incumbents in the first quarter, bringing in just $310,458. But his sole Democratic challenger in the deep-red 4th District, Ryan Melton, raised only $1,477 in the first quarter. Feenstra has $940,031 cash on hand compared to Melton’s $1,106.

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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.