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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

GOP MN US Senate - Ranking The Field

Category: Al Franken
Posted: 04/22/14 01:07, Edited: 04/22/14 01:08

by Dave Mindeman

Al Franken is up for election this year and there are a number of Republicans that want to take his job. Who will be the last person standing? Well, again, its fun to speculate. Here we go:

4. Rep. Jim Abeler - Abeler appears to have entered this race as a kind of alternative candidate. After all, he was a member of the Override Six and it would seem he thought he could appeal beyond the base. Unfortunately, he doesn't appear to appeal to any faction, and it looks like he will be the first casualty.

3. Commissioner Chris Dahlberg - Dahlberg kind of hangs around hoping that the two top tier candidates stumble. He has had some backing from media mogul Stanley Hubbard, but hasn't caught on with anybody else. He is treading water financially - his best shot is a credible showing at the convention. He is abiding by the endorsement because he really doesn't have much choice.

2. State Sen. Julianne Ortman - I used to think that Ortman was a very distant second, but I don't think that anymore. She has had a cash infusion of late and seems to be on track to win an easy endorsement at next month's convention. That would be a boost that will make her competitive in the primary. She has decent name recognition and is showing some willingness to do battle.

1. Mike McFadden - McFadden has been described as a Romney Clone. He is a financial analyst with virtually no political experience...and he has been doing a poor job of handling the press and outlining positions. So why is he still in first place? Just money. Lots of money. However, going forward he looks awfully vulnerable. Ortman is a much closer second than she was a month ago.


From my perspective, and granted, it is a biased one, Al Franken looks to be in pretty good position. These four candidates all have serious flaws that the Franken campaign will probably exploit. Still, a lot of outside money could come raining down if an opportunity presents itself.

So far, Franken's own fundraising has discouraged that influx.
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McFadden: "Specifics Are Not Important"

Category: Al Franken
Posted: 04/10/14 16:43, Edited: 04/10/14 16:44

by Dave Mindeman

The Republican establishment wants to defeat Sen. Al Franken badly. And those same establishment Republicans knew that the MN state party has been in horrible financial shape.

It has been clear that they feel the only real hope to compete for this seat in 2014 was to bring in a deep pockets financial guy to push through to the nomination.

Enter Mike McFadden....a rich guy, a willing GOP donor, but a political neophyte with a zero track record on policy. In a way, the establishment was hoping this would also be a plus, since anti-government sentiment is also very high in Republican base circles.

But, given all that, there is one slight oversight in getting what they needed.

They forgot about competence.

McFadden called a news conference today - a rare occurrence for the McFadden campaign - in order to trash the one Republican issue of 2014 - Obamacare.

Unfortunately, as often happens at a press conference, reporters started asking questions on other subjects.....

McFadden would not say whether Minnesota should have used the federal exchange rather than creating its own.

He also refused to say whether he would have voted to block debate in the U.S. Senate on pay equity for women.

McFadden also refused to give a yes or no answer on whether he supports what's called "personhood" legislation, which considers a fertilized egg to be a person from the moment of conception. Many of the other Republicans in the race say they support that.

McFadden also declined to weigh in on legislative efforts this week to increase Minnesota's minimum wage.

Some of the other Republicans in the Senate contest accuse McFadden of skirting issues. Asked about his refusal to get specific, McFadden suggested specifics are not important.

When you are at a press conference "refused to say" and "declined to answer" are not things you like to see in the report.

And when he explained his idea that "specifics are not important", he ended with this....

"What I think is really important with politicians and with leaders [is] you understand their overriding philosophies -- how do they make decisions?" said McFadden. "And so I've been very specific in this campaign as to how I make decisions."

So if I understand that correctly, we can rest assured that McFadden's overriding decision making philosophy on answering questions is to never actually give an answer.

Does the MN Republican establishment actually think that's a good thing?
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MN GOP Senate Candidates - Not Much There

Category: Al Franken
Posted: 01/24/14 04:17

by Dave Mindeman

On January 17th there was a GOP Senate candidate forum sponsored by the Rochester Tea Party and the Post Bulletin covered it.

As usual, Mike McFadden could not attend -- probably out raising money in some swanky hotel somewhere....can't be bothered with debates.

But Julianne Ortman, Jim Abeler, Chris Dahlberg, and the other 3 that are just classified as "the rest" for the most part...were there. Of course, since it was a Tea Party event, the answers to policy positions were moved to the extreme....something they should be held accountable for at some point in the process.

For instance...

...all of the candidates said they do not believe in man-made climate change, except for Abeler. He did not provide a clear answer to the question.

Really? You want Minnesota to send you to the US Senate with the idea that climate change is a hoax? Seriously? Abeler waffled on it, but really, if you have an education do you really need to waffle?

And in keeping with who they were talking to....

On the issue of immigration, all of the candidates except Ortman said they oppose amnesty for people in the country illegally. Ortman specified that she opposed the Senate immigration bill.

I guess Ortman is leaving the door open for something...who knows? But as usual they offered no solution - just more negatives. How is this Party ever going to move forward?

The candidates were asked about raising money to compete....something only Mike McFadden has managed to get some attention with....but you can tell a candidate who is having serious money problems - they bring up Social Media...

Ortman told the audience "we'll have the funds we need to effectively challenge Al Franken." She said her campaign is tapping into social media and microtargeting with a particular emphasis on 18-to-24-year-olds.

Yeah....microtargeting....that's the ticket.

At this particular moment this field of candidates is a hodgepodge of nothing notable. Maybe if you combined them together (McFadden for money, Abeler for experience, Ortman for bravado)....maybe you could have one competitive candidate.

Right now, McFadden has the best approach - be invisible.
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