SIOUX CITY – JD Scholten will take on political double duty this election season.
This week: Mike Franken of Sioux City, the former three-star Navy admiral running for the U.S. Senate, announced that Scholten, a fellow Democrat and resident of Sioux City, will join his campaign to oust seven -term Republican incumbent Sen. Chuck Grassley. According to a press release, Scholten, who runs unopposed in Iowa House District 1, will come as a political director.
“I’ve met Admiral Franken these past few years, it’s an honor for me to work on his campaign,” Scholten said. “He is a unique candidate. I will not sign up for any campaign, but his work ethic, authenticity and his integrity are inspiring. He will be a fantastic representative of our state in the Senate. “
The news came just days after a poll commissioned by Franken’s campaign showed him within 5 percentage points of Grassley in the 2022 election.
The poll was conducted by Change Research, which surveyed 1,488 likely voters in Iowa from June 30 to July 4. Grassley was chosen by 49% of poll respondents, up 44% for Franken. Seven percent said they remain undecided. The margin of error of the poll is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points. Grassley’s six wins in Grassley’s re -election campaign in Iowa averaged 35 percentage points. (A poll in April showed that Franken followed Grassley by 3% with 13% of respondents being “undecided.”)
In mid -May, a Change Research poll showed that Franken was statistically tied to Abby Finkenauer in the U.S. Senate Democratic primary campaign. Nearly three weeks later, Franken won that election by nearly 15 percentage points.
Scholten spoke at the most recent exit poll from Franken’s campaign, saying: “This race reminds me a lot of our campaign in 2018. The big difference is that the numbers across the state are more in favor of Democrats. than the old 4th district, where we moved the needle by 24 points that year.Last week’s poll showed Admiral Franken dropped just five points with plenty of room for name recognition is very encouraging.
In his 2018 Congressional run, Scholten, a paralegal, lost to Rep. Steve King of Kiron by approximately 3% in the 4th District (the most Republican of Iowa’s four districts). Scholten crisscrossed the 39-county district in an RV he referred to as the “Sioux City Sue” and received contributions from donors across the United States who wanted to see King beat because of his past controversial statements about on race and immigration.
Scholten argued against Randy Feenstra, then a Republican state senator from Hull, Iowa, in the November 2020 general election, but it wasn’t as competitive as the 2018 race against King. Feenstra won 62% of the vote to Scholten’s 37% in the state’s most Republican congressional district.
While state legislators in Iowa will sometimes work for federal officials from the state, it is relatively rare for a candidate to work for another candidate at the same time. However, Franken’s release said: “JD seeks to follow in the footsteps of Representative Chris Hall, who successfully served in a similar role for Fred Hubbell’s gubernatorial campaign.”
The state legislative district Scholten is running to represent, House District 1, is engaged some similarities to the current district (District 13) represented by Hall, who decided not to seek another term after more than a decade in office, but more similar to the district Rep. Steve Hansen (D-Sioux City) currently serving (District 14). No Republican has filed for District 1 by the March deadline, but local GOP leaders have until next month to nominate a candidate to fill the ballot spot.
Jared McNett is an online editor and reporter for the Sioux City Journal. You can call him at 712-293-4234 and follow him on Twitter @TwoHeadedBoy98.