Mike McFadden on Friday announced some big name backing for his run against Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken.

Former U.S. Sens. Rod Grams and Norm Coleman will serve as McFadden's honorary co-chairs, the campaign said.

The two ex-Senators, know "how to win a statewide elections in Minnesota and will be helpful in advising Mike how to build his team," said McFadden campaign manager Tom Erickson.

The public release of their support comes one day before state Sen. Julianne Ortman is expected to add her name to the list of Republicans hoping to unseat Franken next year. State Rep. Jim Abeler is also running.

Since he entered the race this summer, McFadden, a political newcomer and former executive at Lazard Middle Market, has worked to make himself appear as the front-runner in the GOP contest. Last month, he announced that he had raised $760,000 in his first few weeks in the race, a number impressive enough to make money folks take notice.

The addition of Grams and Coleman's support also give McFadden establishment credentials in both Minnesota and Washington, DC and keep them from backing anyone else.

The two ex-Senators still have deep connections in Minnesota and across the nation. Coleman, who became a lobbyist and chairman of the American Action Network, which has become a big spending force in Republican contests.

The two also know not only how to win -- both secured a single term in the U.S. Senate -- but also how to lose Minnesota statewide contests.

Grams lost his seat to Mark Dayton back in 2000 and Coleman lost to Franken by 312 votes in the aftermath of 2008 race. The wisdom gained through losing -- and how not to do it -- may serve McFadden just as well as the knowledge gained by winning.

McFadden on Friday also announced that Molly Corrigan Cronin will serve as McFadden's campaign chair. Cronin brings some force of her own, she is co-chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota’s Elephant Club, which raises money for the party through private events, and is on the board of directors of the Center of the American Experiment, a conservative think tank in Minnesota.

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