Franken is running for re-election and so far the GOP bench to challenge him is thin. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
The first Minnesota Republican to challenge Democratic Sen. Al Franken piqued both curiosity and optimism within the state’s GOP circles. Finance executive Mike McFadden, who heads a Minneapolis management firm, is a largely unknown quantity in state politics, aside from a few donations.
Some Republicans think that may be one of McFadden’s best assets in this Democratic-leaning state, which hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1972. They’re also realistic about his chances against someone who is now a formidable incumbent.
“He’s a very personable guy. That’s obviously a good asset,” said one Republican strategist who’s worked on statewide campaigns. “But when you’re going from basically high school ball to the major leagues — that’s a big jump.”
Those who have actually met McFadden were impressed and they are genuinely optimistic about this being a competitive race, especially with a midterm electorate that tends to be more favorable for Republicans than in presidential years.