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, J. Patrick Coolican, Patricia Lopez, Ricardo Lopez, Abby Simons, Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Corey Mitchell, Allison Sherry and Jim Spencer.

Posts about Minnesota U.S. senators

Franken at Indigenous Peoples Day event

Posted by: J. Patrick Coolican Updated: October 13, 2014 - 6:40 PM

Sen. Al Franken spoke to a crowd of several hundred at the Minneapolis American Indian Center, reminding voters there about his legislation aimed at preventing rampant sex assaults on tribal lands, as well as improving health care and bringing school reconstruction dollars to American Indians. 

Franken, the first-term Democrat in a re-election contest with businessman Mike McFadden, appeared for the first-ever celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day.  

Franken opened with a self-deprecating story about his first powwow, when he was advised by an American Indian aide not to dance but did anyway after encouragement from the crowd and a promise not to ridicule him. 

"I was a dancing fool," he said. 

Earlier in the day Franken held a news conference to discuss his efforts to crack down on so-called “stalking apps" that allow users to track another person's location without their knowledge or consent. 

During the news conference he endorsed closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, trying the terrorism suspects in American courts and holding them in American maximum security prisons. He said President Obama does not have authority to do so without approval from Congress, however. 

The McFadden campaign said the Guantanamo proposal is "out of touch" in light of the newest American military campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and said it showed Franken's allegiance to the Obama White House. 

Today in the governor's race: Bill Clinton's in town

Posted by: Patrick Condon Updated: October 10, 2014 - 9:17 AM

Former President Bill Clinton is used to being the center of political attention, and his visit to Minneapolis on Friday to campaign for Gov. Mark Dayton and Sen. Al Franken is likely to dominate Minnesota election news for the day.

The gregarious and usually quotable Clinton is perhaps the most sought-after campaigner for Democrats nationwide. He'll stump for Franken and Dayton at an early afternoon get-out-the-vote rally at Northrop Auditorium on the University of Minnesota campus. 

Dayton's Republican challenger, is taking a day off the campaign trail Friday in order to raise campaign funds. Johnson is planning to leverage some national political firepower of his own next week, with an event planned for Monday with former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. The Johnson campaign has not yet released details of Christie's visit. 

Senate candidate McFadden plans paid time to re-air Franken debate

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: October 9, 2014 - 7:06 PM

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden really wants Minnesotans to see him debate Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken.

So much so that McFadden is paying to re-air his first -- and so far only -- debate with Franken on Twin Cities television in its completion on Saturday. The debate took place on Oct. 1 in Duluth at 8 a.m.

"We are going to paying to air this debate so that we make sure that Minnesotans have a chance to see it," said spokesman Tom Erickson told the Star Tribune.

McFadden, a Sunfish Lake businessman making his first run for office, had long hammered on Franken for a series of debates. He even aired two television ads focusing on debates.

In the end, Franken and McFadden agreed to three debates. The first one was in Duluth last week. They will not debate again until Oct. 26, just days before the Nov. 4 election. Public polls show McFadden trailing Franken. Some show the Republican behind by double digits.

Erickson said the campaign plans to air as much as the one-hour debate as they can fit into their 58 minute time slot.

"We were so confident in Mike's performance we decided to just air the debate," he said.

In reaction, the Franken campaign was equally confident.

"We're happy that more Minnesotans will learn about investment banker Mike McFadden's support for tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, that he would undermine Minnesota jobs by building the Keystone Pipeline with Chinese steel and that last year when it came time to answer tough questions about Syria Mike McFadden blinked," said Ryan Furlong, Franken campaign spokesman.

The station's time slot -- it will run from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m on Saturday on WFTC -- can be bought fairly inexpensively. It will cost the campaign about $5,000, according to Federal Communications Commission files.

"It's a bargain," Erickson said.

Still, it is unusual for a campaign to buy up so much time to air anything, much less a debate.

In a clip prepared as a trailer for the airing shows McFadden in his best light and Franken in his worst. See that below.


Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken, left, and Republican challenger Mike McFadden enjoy a laugh before their debate, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014, in Duluth, Minn./ source: Jim Mone, Associated Press



Updated, corrected the call letters for the station

Franken fundraising doubles McFadden in third quarter

Posted by: Abby Simons Updated: October 7, 2014 - 3:59 PM

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken raised double the amount of Republican challenger Mike McFadden in the last three months, according to third-quarter fundraising reports.

Franken raised $4.2 million, bringing his total to $22.7 million during the 2014 election cycle, with $2.75 million cash on hand, his campaign reported.

McFadden raised more than $2 million in the last three months, bringing his fundraising total to $6 million. The McFadden campaign has $1 million cash on hand as of the first of the month.

Though far outpaced by Franken, McFadden's numbers reflect his best fundraising quarter to date, according to the campaign. He raised $1.1 million in the second quarter.

“The support Mike has received from Minnesotans over the past few months has been amazing and shows that people are sick of Sen. Franken and his 97 percent voting record with President Obama,” Campaign Manager Carl Kuhl said in a statement. “Yet again we’ve had our campaign’s best fundraising quarter and people are proving that they want a senator who will be a problem solver and help end the gridlock in Washington.”

According to the Franken campaign, 97.5 percent of the 110,188 contributions in the third quarter were less than $100. The campaign said 25,562 were first-time donors.

"We expect this to be a tough race, right until the polls close," said Franken campaign manager Matt Burgess. "We're now mobilizing the grassroots operation we've been building since the start of this campaign and look forward to spending the next four weeks communicating with Minnesotans, energizing our supporters and getting out the vote."

SurveyUSA poll shows Franken way up; McFadden trashes poll

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: October 7, 2014 - 1:34 PM

A new SurveyUSA/KSTP poll finds that Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken had an 18 percentage point advantage over Republican Mike McFadden, a larger lead than any previous poll.

According to the poll, 55 percent of people said they would vote for Franken and 37 said they would vote for McFadden. The poll, conducted Sept. 30-Oct. 2, surveyed 577 likely voters and had a 4.1 percentage point plus or minus margin of error.

It found that Franken's lead doubled from nine percent in the pollster's September survey.

The suddenly large lead had the McFadden campaign dismissing the results.

"Last night’s KSTP/SurveyUSA poll on the Minnesota Senate race will undoubtedly be the talk of the state’s political scene over the next few days, and for good reason – it conflicts with the other polls conducted over the same time period," McFadden campaign manager Carl Kuhl said in an email. "This memo will not argue that Mike McFadden is tied or within the margins of Senator Franken. We know we are trailing, but with the exception of SurveyUSA, polls show that McFadden is gaining on Senator Franken."

See the chart, from Real Clear Politics, for the trajectory of the polling results in the U.S. Senate race.


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