[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/11/art.franken.0911.gi.jpg caption="Al Franken's headed to Iowa, and a good steak may be one of the reasons."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Al Franken's headed to Iowa, and a good steak may be one of the reasons.
The junior senator from Minnesota is the headliner Sunday at Sen. Tom Harkin's 32nd annual Steak Fry in Indianola, Iowa.
"Tom is a good friend. I admire him a lot," Franken, best known from his years as a comedian on "Saturday Night Live," told the Des Moines Register. "But also, I like steak."
The Harkin Steak Fry is one of the Iowa Democratic Party's biggest events, and in years when the party's presidential nomination is up for grabs, it's a draw for Democratic White House hopefuls. Barack Obama's appearance at the 2006 steak fry was a signal that the then-senator from Illinois was seriously considering a bid for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.
Now that Obama is president, the steak fry, at least for the next few years, will most likely not hold the same draw when it comes to presidential politics. But it's still considered a major event for Democrats.
Franken narrowly edged out Republican Sen. Norm Coleman in an election that turned into a drawn-out recount and legal battle. The eight-month battle finally ended in June, when the Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously upheld Franken's 312 vote victory.
While he's known as a funny man, Franken says he's got serious things to discuss on Sunday.
"I'll talk a lot about health care. That's the big fight now," says Franken. "I'll put it in the context of the kind of progressive politics that Sen. Harkin and I believe in."
Health care will be on Franken's mind Saturday as well, as he Minnesota's senior senator, fellow Democrat Amy Klobuchar, join the president at a health care rally at the Target Center in Minneapolis.
As for Sunday's steak fry, Harkin says he expects Franken will crack some jokes, but also address serious issues.
"We always expect to have fun, have a good time and re-energize our batteries," Harkin told the Des Moines Register.