Punchbowl Bowl News recently reported that in a private meeting with Democrat senators, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer admitted that Mike Franken wouldn’t win the Senate race against incumbent Sen. Chuck Grassley.
Franken has closely tied himself to President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats’ agenda. During a primary debate, Franken praised Biden for doing a “fabulous job” despite the president’s miniscule 27 percent approval rating among Iowans. He’s since come out in support of Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, which has garnered fierce criticism from Republicans for its provisions adding 87,000 Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to increase audits and tax hikes on Americans making as little as $20,000.
The July Iowa poll had Franken down eight points, and election forecasters have long rated the race as “safe R” and “solid R.”
Schumer’s pessimistic assessment marks a sharp contrast with the optimism that Franken has been trying to project. The Franken campaign recently, for instance, tried to spin their own internal poll showing Franken down “just” four points as a promising development. Franken has also launched an ad blitz targeted to MSNBC’s liberal-leaning audience, and an ad campaign nearly 800 miles away from Iowa’s eastern borders in Washington, D.C.
The outreach to D.C. insiders and liberal activists didn’t pan out. Schumer recently poured $15 million towards defending his tenuous Senate majority – with none going towards augmenting Franken’s bid.
Republican officials were quick to point to Democrats’ intense involvement in Iowa during the 2020 election cycle, when the Schumer-aligned Senate Majority PAC and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) poured millions behind Theresa Greenfield to pave the way in a crowded primary that included Franken.
“[T]he Democrat leader’s brutally honest comments starkly contrast with his and other D.C. Democrats’ optimism in Iowa last cycle. In 2020, the DSCC anointed Theresa Greenfield to take on Joni Ernst with an early endorsement and aimed brutal attack ads on Franken and other primary challengers. Schumer even followed up with a seven-figure ad campaign from his PAC to boost Greenfield,” a Republican National Committee spokesman said in a press release.
Schumer and the DSCC continued to invest tens of millions after the primary in Greenfield’s challenge against incumbent GOP Sen. Joni Ernst in the general election. The RNC was quick to point out how all of that outsider involvement panned out.
“Schumer and D.C. Democrats were all in on unseating Ernst, but over $150 million later, we all know how that story ended: Ernst dominating Greenfield by nearly seven points.”