Republican Mike McFadden, an executive at the Lazard finance firm, announced on Wednesday that he would vie against Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken next year.

McFadden, who has never run for a high-profile office before, is the first Republican to announce a challenge to the Democratic incumbent. Franken won his first race by a recount-inducing few hundred votes.

McFadden said that he would particularly stress economic issues and improving education for all in his campaign.

"We have to do better and those are things I want to talk about in this campaign. This campaign is not going to be about divisive issues," McFadden said.

In answer to questions from the media, he offered few specifics about his solutions.

"I look forward to giving you specifics. We just announced that we filed a campaign committee today. It's a long campaign," McFadden said. "I want to help solve things."

He said he would seek the Republican Party endorsement for his run but said it was too early to say whether he would drop out if he is not picked. He also said that he would not completely self-fund what is expected to be a multimillion dollar race but would contribute something to his campaign.

In answer to a question, he said that he believes that same sex marriage, which will become legal in Minnesota in August, is a state issue.

"We've made our decision, let's move forward. And I want to talk about the economy. How do we get it moving? How to we create jobs? How do we fix education? That's what I want to talk about," McFadden said.

McFadden, of Sunfish Lake, will take a leave of absence from his role as Co-CEO of Lazard Middle Market to run.

Tom Erickson will be handling McFadden's communication and messaging. A political operative, Erickson of late has been the executive director of the Minnesota Jobs Coalition, an independent committee that has hammered on DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and Democrats in the Legislature. He is leaving that job to work in McFadden's campaign.

See McFadden's announcement video below:


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