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McFadden’s campaign is led by paid political veterans, and he has close ties to Republican establishment figures in both Minnesota and Washington, D.C. One of his earliest supporters was former Sen. Norm Coleman, whom Franken narrowly beat in 2008 in a contest that led to a recount.
While McFadden had not been favored to win, campaign manager Brad Herold said the campaign poured huge resources into securing the endorsement. In recent months volunteers made more than 50,000 phone calls to several thousand potential convention delegates, he said.
Even as McFadden’s voice flagged, the energy of his forces grew. The father of six employed several of his older kids as surrogates, and his appearances on the stage were punctuated by aggressive rock and hip-hop tunes.
There is still a chance McFadden could face a primary challenge from state Rep. Jim Abeler, who sought the GOP endorsement but was eliminated in Friday’s early rounds of voting. Abeler said Saturday he would take the weekend to decide whether to continue his candidacy.
McFadden, married with five sons and a daughter, lives in the St. Paul suburb of Sunfish Lake. Herold said he’d take a day off the campaign trail on Sunday for his daughter’s graduation from Convent of the Visitation High School in Mendota Heights.
Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Abby Simons contributed to this report.
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