Finkenauer’s Senate bid faces skepticism after ballot woes

She’s one of the more prominent Democrats in the state, building a wunderkind reputation in the Legislature before toppling a Republican congressman in 2018. She was the second-youngest woman elected to Congress, helping Democrats retake control of the U.S. House that year.

And though she would go on to lose the Democratic-leaning district in 2020, her stature suffered little. She raised her profile on cable television and aggressive email attacks on incumbent GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley, all of which helped her raise millions of dollars ahead of her Senate run.

“It really just struck me the wrong way,” said Bonnie Campbell, a former Iowa attorney general and past Democratic nominee for governor.

Campbell had contributed money to Finkenauer’s campaign but also had been eying Franken. Finkenauer’s remarks tipped the scales, she said.

Finkenauer’s campaign declined a request for an interview for this story.

There’s little reliable polling in the primary and whoever survives the Democratic contest faces a daunting challenge in Grassley, who raised more money through March than Finkenauer and Franken combined.

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