Republicans are searching for a candidate willing to challenge Sen. Al Franken in 2014. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Updated 8:01 p.m. | For a brief period on Wednesday it appeared Republicans could count Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., out of the race against Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., in 2014.
“No, that’s ridiculous,” Paulsen said, when Minnesota Public Radio asked him about running. However, the MPR report was updated later with a clarification from the congressman’s office. His use of the word “ridiculous” wasn’t in reference to the Senate race after all. It had to do with his vote on the fiscal cliff deal. Here’s MPR’s update:
Paulsen’s office says his use of the word “ridiculous” wasn’t about running for Senate. A spokesman says Paulsen used the word in the context to the preface of the question that mentioned Paulsen’s “no” vote on the fiscal cliff deal before asking whether he was running for Senate.
Republicans have talked up Paulsen, as well as his colleague Rep. John Kline, as potential Franken challengers. Neither Republican has ruled out a bid publicly.
Meanwhile, Kline “continues to keep all options on the table,” according to his spokesman, Troy Young.
In 2008, Franken won one of the closest Senate races in decades following a lengthy recount. He has indicated that he plans to seek re-election next year.
CQ Roll Call rates this race as Leans Democratic.