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Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty; Charlie Neibergall/AP Chuck Grassley, Mike Franken
Sen. Chuck Grassley, one of the longest serving senators in the United States, will go up against a retired navy admiral in November as he looks to secure an eighth consecutive Senate term in Iowa.
On Tuesday, Adm. Mike Franken beat out former congresswoman Abby Finkenauer and physician Glenn Hurst in the Democratic primary, earning a chance to unseat the prominent incumbent later this year.
Franken thanked his supporters in a series of tweets Tuesday following his win.
"You bestowed me and a great honor and I intend to follow through on it," he wrote.
He continued, "My promise to you is I will care for those I've never met as much as those I know. That's why we're Democrats."
Franken then called out his competitor by name, writing, "What must happen is we must defeat Chuck Grassley. For too long, he's said, 'We're working on that'. Enough of that. I will outwork Grassley."
Last week, Grassley, 88 — who has held his position for more than 41 years — hosted a heated town hall meeting in Columbus Junction, Iowa, where several attendees accused him of putting children's lives in danger by holding up gun reform measures.
"You have been filibustering gun reform," one attendee said, Iowa Starting Line reported. "My daughter's a teacher, my daughter-in-law is a teacher, you are risking their lives."
Stefani Reynolds/Getty Chuck Grassley
The outlet reported that Grassley was repeatedly pressed about the measures he would be open to supporting, though he demurred when it came to giving specifics. Instead, he said he wanted to wait and see how negotiations proceed between Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. — who are in "serious" talks to develop bipartisan legislation.
Many lawmakers are calling for tighter restrictions on guns in the wake of last month's mass shooting at a Texas elementary school — in which a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers.
But even with hundreds of mass shootings taking place in the U.S. every year, Congress has failed to pass any major piece of gun control legislation in recent years.
According to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence — an organization named for former press secretary Jim Brady, who was shot and permanently disabled during an assassination attempt on Republican President Ronald Reagan — Grassley has accepted more than $226,000 in donations from the NRA over the course of his career.
When speaking with supporters in Des Moines after receiving a call of congratulations from Finkenauer, Franken said, "We're done with this. We're absolutely done. I'm not going to be the junior senator from Iowa. I'm going to be the leading senator from the state of Iowa," The Washington Post reported.