Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken is turning to another celebrity friend to help raise money for his 2014 re-election campaign.
In an e-mail sent to supporters Thursday, Franken's campaign manager offered supporters who donate to Franken's campaign by noon Friday a chance to party with him and "Parks and Recreation" star Amy Poehler in Los Angeles next Wednesday. Franken's campaign will cover the cost for airfare and lodging for the winner and a friend.
Republicans criticized Franken during the 2008 Senate race, saying the former "Saturday Night Live" writer and satirist wasn't a serious candidate. That led Franken to de-emphasize his celebrity ties. But he's not shying away from his Hollywood connections this time around.
Jon Hamm, of "Mad Men" fame, and late-night host Conan O'Brien are among the celebrities who have helped Franken raise campaign cash since last April. Poehler and O'Brien, like Franken, are "Saturday Night Live" alums.
Franken raised $2.7 million during the first three months of 2014 and now has $5.9 million banked for his re-election bid.
Franken's campaign made the fundraiser announcement the same day one of his leading challengers, businessman Mike McFadden, rolled out the first television ad of the Senate race.
The spot features a hockey player misfiring on slapshots while an announcer criticizes Franken's votes on taxes, government spending and the Affordable Care Act.
"For Minnesota, it was miss after miss after miss," the announcer declares.
McFadden then tells viewers that Minnesota needs "someone who's going to shoot straight in Washington."
Minnesota DFL Party chair Ken Martin said McFadden is the candidate who hasn't been a straight shooter on the issues.
"McFadden's going to have to try a lot harder to paper over the fact that he's been called out for refusing to be honest more times than I can count," Martin said.
GOP's Westrom named to 'Contender' list
The National Republican Congressional Committee has named Seventh Congressional District candidate Torrey Westrom an up-and-coming recruit for the 2014 election cycle.
Westrom is one of seven House hopefuls the NRCC added to its "Contender" list. The state senator is the GOP challenger to Democratic incumbent Collin Peterson in the district that covers most of western Minnesota.
"Torrey Westrom has reached the 'Contender' status because he is exemplary of the new leadership needed in Washington D.C. to turn our country around and provide a check and balance in Washington," said NRCC Chairman Greg Walden, a Republican congressman from Oregon.
As challengers ascend the ranks, they're more likely to receive financial and campaign aid from the NRCC. The next and final rung is for top-tier recruits, who are labeled "Young Guns."