Former Northwest Iowan To Seek Dem Nomination To Face Joni Ernst In 2020

Sioux Center, Iowa — (RI) — A retired Navy admiral who grew up near Sioux Center has announced he’s running for the U.S. Senate seat held by retired Iowa National Guard soldier Joni Ernst.

Sixty-one-year-old Michal Franken, whose father served in the Navy during World War II, retired as a three-star admiral after a 39 year career in the military. He and his wife bought a house and moved to Sioux City this spring.

Franken, the youngest of nine children, grew up near Sioux Center. He says he was born in what he calls a sort of “apolitical, Republican area” of the state, but he’s made a “philosophical transition.”

Franken released an announcement video Monday morning, mentioning that during a critical Pentagon meeting about going to war in Iraq, he voted no.

The Navy’s biography for Franken shows he commanded several guided missile destroyers in the U.S. fleet and served in a variety of leadership posts in U.S. military operations in Africa. He has also served as a liaison for the Navy on Capitol Hill. Franken joins a few other Democrats who’ve announced they’re running for the party’s 2020 nomination for the U.S. Senate and a chance to challenge Republican Joni Ernst’s bid for a second term. The Iowa GOP’s chairman released a statement, saying Franken has joined a field of Democrats that’s “in a race to the far left, embracing the values of coastal elites.”

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