Republican Senate candidate Mike McFadden has received support from many current and former Republican members of congress from Minnesota, but GOP rival Jim Abeler has picked up a few of his own.

On Wednesday, Republican former U.S. Sen. Dave Durenberger shared that he would support Republican state Rep. Jim Abeler in the U.S. Senate race and urged others to follow suit.

Durenberger's choice to opt against the presumed front runner and the Republican endorsed candidate fits with his choice in 2010. That year, he backed Independence Party's Tom Horner against GOP's Tom Emmer for governor.

Here's what Durenberger said about his preference for Abeler:

The death of my U.S. Senate Republican Leader Howard Baker this July reminded me of the critical importance of the U.S. Senate and of leadership at critical times in our nation’s history. This is without a doubt one of those times. Howard Baker wanted only to be known as one who used his elected office “to bring people together.” And expected members of the Senate to be willing to do the same.

Minnesota has a tradition of electing members of both parties to do just that. Minnesota needs to be represented in the Senate now by such Senators from both parties. State Rep. Jim Abeler is just such a person. Jim is a proven leader in legislative policy fields, especially health sand health care.

Many times I asked Rep. Abeler to speak to my Healthcare MBA class. In 2011, shortly after Minnesota voters elected Jim sand Republicans to a majority in the House of Representatives, he told my class: “Over my 13 years I’ve built bridges to the majority and the minority in order to better serve all my constituents. I hope my DFL friends will use those bridges to better serve theirs.”

I respect Mike McFadden’s success as a person and as a highly successful financial advisor to private business. I respect even respect the endorsement process in the party since without it I might not have been able to serve as our U.S. Senator. I even respect its right to suspend me and others from the party over other endorsements we made.

But critical times call out our responsibility to each other as citizens and Minnesotans deserves an experienced policy-making conservative to represent them in the U.S. Senate. Jim Abeler is undoubtedly just such an experienced leader and deserves your vote. He will have mine on August 12.

Photo: Former Sen. Dave Durenberger in 2010 with gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner/Star Tribune file photo

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