With an insider’s eye, Hot Dish tracks the tastiest bits of Minnesota’s political scene and keep you up-to-date on those elected to serve you.

Contributors in Minnesota: Patrick Condon, Baird Helgeson, Patricia Lopez, Jim Ragsdale, Abby Simons, Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Allison Sherry, Corey Mitchell and Jim Spencer.

Posts about Minnesota U.S. senators

Sen. Al Franken pushes nutrition for kids and seniors

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: April 18, 2014 - 12:33 PM

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Al Franken is making stops to the young and the old Friday in his push for the poor to have the right to nutritious food and college affordability.

Franken, who recently introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate to ensure students have access to school lunches, is taking U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to the St. Paul Public Schools Nutrition Center, which prepares school meals for St. Paul schools using local products.

He then heads to Minneapolis, where he will help deliver a meal via Meals on Wheels to two seniors.

Then he'll move again to the University of Minnesota, where he will talk with college students about tuition affordability, including the price of textbooks. He has pending legislation to rein in the rising cost of textbooks -- legislation that has been endorsed by the Association of Big Ten Students, according to his office.

Franken is up for re-election this November.

'Parks and Recreation' star to help Franken raise campaign cash

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: April 17, 2014 - 9:50 AM

Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken is turning to another celebrity friend to help raise money for his 2014 reelection campaign. 

In an e-mail sent today, campaign manager Matt Burgess is offering 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 deemphasize 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’ve helped Franken raise campaign cash. Poehler and O’Brien, like Franken, are Saturday Night Live alums.

Senate candidate McFadden targets Franken's record in first TV ad

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: April 17, 2014 - 8:43 AM

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden is targeting Democratic incumbent Al Franken’s voting record in the first television ad of Minnesota’s Senate race.

The campaign ad features a hockey player misfiring slap shots whiles 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.

McFadden’s ad buy is $9,800 over 10 days and starts running today on cable in the Twin Cities television market. It’s the first candidate TV ad of the election cycle in Minnesota’s 2014 U.S. Senate race.

State Sen. Julianne Ortman, St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg and state Rep. Jim Abeler are among the other GOP candidates vying to take on Franken.

Franken challenger Mike McFadden reports $600K fundraising quarter

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: April 15, 2014 - 4:16 PM

One of U.S. Sen. Al Franken’s leading Republican challengers, businessman Mike McFadden, reported $600,000 in fundraising during the first three months of 2014

McFadden’s latest report leaves him with $1.8 million in cash on hand in the race against Franken, a $100,000 increase from his last report. McFadden has raised $2.85 million since he entered the race last May.

Franken raised more than $2.7 million during the first quarter. He now has $5.9 million cash on hand for his campaign, more than three times as much as McFadden.

Franken’s fundraising haul marked a nearly 30 percent increase over the amount his campaign raised during the final three months of 2103.

While Franken ramped up his fundraising during the fundraising period, McFadden’s numbers dropped more than 20 percent from the previous quarter, when he raked in $780,000.

“Our consistent fundraising progress proves once again that we are the only candidate who will have the funds to defeat Sen. Franken in November,” McFadden said in a statement.

The other GOP candidates in the race to unseat Franken have yet to report their fundraising totals.

Gophers victory sweet for Klobuchar, Franken

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: April 11, 2014 - 6:03 AM

The University of Minnesota’s buzzer-beating victory over the University of North Dakota in the NCAA men’s hockey semifinals proved sweet for U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken.

Defenseman Justin Holl’s goal helped the Minnesota senators win friendly wagers with their North Dakota colleagues.

Republican Sen. John Hoeven owes Klobuchar a box of chocolate-covered potato chips, a North Dakota favorite known as “chippers.” Klobuchar put a batch of her homemade frozen hot dish on the line.

Franken and Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp wagered a 10-pound bag of crystal sugar.

After the game, Franken declared victory via Twitter:

.@Heidi4ND, it looks like you owe me a 10lb bag of Crystal Sugar. Congrats on the win, @GopherHockey! -Al #FrozenFour

The Golden Gophers will face Union College of Schenectady, N.Y., in the title game Saturday night. No word if Klobuchar and Franken will make similar wagers with Democratic U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

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