Friday's Republican endorsement for U.S. Senate in Rochester will involve political and real fireworks.
A host of candidates will vie to get their party's nod to face Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken in the fall and their battle will be laid bare in a Rochester convention hall.
The contest could rival any the GOP has seen for years -- and, it appears, will involve pyrotechnics. A copy of a fireworks permit application candidate Mike McFadden's campaign filed was provided to the Star Tribune. The permit indicates the fireworks are timed for the endorsement.
While the McFadden campaign did not confirm the plans, it did provide this groan-worthy quote.
"Our campaign does want to give away too much except to say that Mike's presentation will spark excitement among the delegates who are looking to support a political outsider with the ability to ignite the right kind of change in Washington," said McFadden spokesman Tom Erickson.
McFadden rival Julianne Ortman, a state senator from Chanhassen, had some announced supporters backing her, as well.
The Conservative Campaign Committee announced it had launched cable and radio ads promoting Ortman.
"Our strategy is simple. We want to energize and motivate Minnesota Republicans to support Julianne Ortman, and show them why it is clear that Julianne Ortman is the best candidate to take on and defeat Al Franken," Lloyd Marcus, chairman of the Conservative Campaign Committee, said in a release.
Ortman also announced on Wednesday that added Jann Olsten, a former executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, to her campaign as a senior consultant.
Meanwhile, Duluth lawyer and GOP Senate hopeful Chris Dahlberg has spent the week canvassing the 8th Congressional District trying to meet with delegates. He recently embarked on a 1,200-mile “front porch” listening tour where he rode around on an actual mobile front porch.
The St. Louis County commissioner claimed Franken “has been rather AWOL on leadership."
“I know with county government and state government and federal government it doesn’t get done in a day, but he’s had six years,” Dahlberg said from his law office in Duluth Wednesday.
Dahlberg, who, like Ortman, says he will abide by the delegates’ choice and drop out if he isn't selected this weekend.
The trio will face off on Friday along with state Rep. Jim Abeler, and other, less well-known candidates for the chance to face Franken in November.
Both Abeler and McFadden have said they will run in an August primary with or without the party's endorsement.
Star Tribune reporter Allison Sherry contributed to this post.