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The National Journal, preeminent RWNJ magazine and website, thinks that Al Franken may not have a strong challenger when he runs for reelection in 2014. They may have a point.

The MNGOP is in disarray. They're broke and having trouble fundraising because they've done such a poor job of managing donors money. My colleague, TwoPuttTommy, has written a Cooked Books series of posts about their financial improprieties.

Worst of all, their bench is thin.

Furthermore, Ron Paul supporters took over the party in 2012 and nominated one-term legislator and abysmal failure Kurt Bills as their candidate to challenge Sen. Amy Klobuchar. But did any Minnesota Republican really stand any chance against the popular Klobuchar? Maybe Mister Bills was just a sacrificial lamb.

So the writer for the NJ talked to former Senator Snidely Whiplash Norm Coleman. The toothsome former Senator (God but I love typing that) gave a back-handed compliment about Franken being invisible which shouldn't be surprising as I can only imagine that Norm is still mighty bitter.

What Franken has actually done is work hard for Minnesota. The details are for another post as this post is about the paucity of challengers.

The list of potential, formidable candidates is short.  Coleman, in an interview with National Journal, categorically said he wasn’t going to run for the Senate in 2014, denying the GOP one of its best-known possible challengers. Rep. Erik Paulsen, a popular House member from the Twin Cities suburbs, telegraphed his own hesitance about jumping into the Senate race on a local radio show. Coleman touted Rep. John Kline, another swing-district Republican, but he has passed up previous statewide bids in favor of building up tenure in the House. And Rep. Michele Bachmann, who would be formidable in a primary, would be the Democrats’ dream challenger, given her high unfavorables even back home. She barely won re-election in a solidly-Republican House district in 2012.

What’s clear is that Minnesota Republicans are wary of jumping head first into the contest, despite the obvious opportunities against Franken. After the 2012 elections, Republican Senate candidates Shelley Moore Capito and former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds immediately announced their campaigns against Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Tim Johnson. By contrast, there’s barely been a peep from potential Franken challengers.

Franken’s ground game, fundraising, and out-of-the-limelight approach help explain why. Franken's campaign coffers are flush with cash. His job-approval rating, according to the most recent September Star-Tribune poll, is a healthy 52 percent.  Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., romped to reelection last November, winning nearly every county in the expansive state. Franken has raised nearly $4 million for 2014, with nearly $1.3 million cash on hand. That would give him a healthy head start over his opposition. (By contrast, the Republican Party of Minnesota is still struggling with $1.5 million in debt.)

Over the last election cycle, Franken's leadership PAC, Midwest Values PAC, raised $450,000 for his Senate colleagues, and Franken himself spent the election season campaigning on behalf of other Democrats, who made gains in the upper chamber. That’s a sign of confidence that he’s spending valuable time helping Democratic colleagues over preparing early for his own reelection. Such fundraising opens avenues for Franken to tap his colleagues for help come 2014.

Democratic strategists also point to the fact that Franken has consciously ignored the glare of the national media spotlight, preferring to speak to Minnesota media. They say he's laser-focused on talking about his record to Minnesotans and point to his sponsoring of the so-called Medical Loss Ratio rule that was passed as part of the Affordable Care Act.
(National Journal)

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Comment Preferences

  •  Lawrence O'Donnell Gave Advice To New Senators (16+ / 0-)

    back in November. He used Franken as an example of what to do. Don't talk to national media. Just do Minnesota media.

    You’re all being invited on national television shows now, which is a first for some of you, but you must resist. Your local media will get very jealous when they see you doing national TV and turning down a local TV interview in Indianapolis or Honolulu,” O’Donnell warned. “And your voters will quickly notice that you enjoy the national spotlight more than tending to their local concerns.”

    He advised following the lead of Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, the “current master of the no national media rule,” pointing out that the “only stand-up comedian in Senate history is regarded by his colleagues as a serious man.” O’Donnell attributed that to Franken’s  focus on his constituents. He also cited Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Hillary Clinton, and Bill Bradley as good models to follow.

    O’Donnell issued a special caution to Warren. “Remember how Scott Brown ran against you — the theme was that you weren’t one of us — us born and bred Massachusetts people,” he said. “The way to bury that imagery forever is to spend your weekends in Springfield and Lowell and Worcester instead of doing national media appearances.”

  •  2014 (6+ / 0-)

    I expect that Franken will face $10 million in attack ads from out of state sources. The big money boys really hate him. Any challenger will be well funded.

    Fortunately the Minnesota GOP has been so crippled by scandal and stupidity they have no serious contenders at this time.

    •  I don't know (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      furi kuri, alwaysquestion

      I know it's a midterm year, and democrat turnout will likely be anemic.  (Nothing depressing like hearing a college student on public radio ask an interviewer "What's a midterm?")  However, $10m is a lot to throw at what the MNGOP probably sees as a lost cause.  

      Political compass: -8.75 / -4.72

      by Mark Mywurtz on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 05:08:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Think GOP special interest money (0+ / 0-)

      Never mind how bad off the MN GOP are financially.  It is the big special interests that pull the strings nowadays.  They really do need to take Al down if they want to diminish the progressive message.  And they really, really need to diminish the progressive message because it makes too much sense and the cause/effect dots are getting closer.

  •  Someone posted a comment in another diary (5+ / 0-)

    about humor being important in politics for politicians to work with each other.

    With Amy Klobuchar being selected to deliver the keynote address at the Gridiron club dinner, the Minnesota has the claim  on the best comedic representation from a state.

  •  Sweet, sweet music to this Minnesotan's ears.... (4+ / 0-)

    The MNGOP is in disarray. They're broke and having trouble fundraising...Worst of all, their bench is thin.

    If we can maintain our commanding majorities through the 2014 midterm, we have a chance at making the GOP a "permanent" minority party in Minnesota.  

    Damn was it sweet seeing the GOP killed up and down the ballot statewide along with their hideous amendments and it was even sweeter to taste the tears of the RWNJ bastards who lorded around after the teabagger sweep in 2010....made so awesome because to them it was completely unexpected!  

    HAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Political compass: -8.75 / -4.72

    by Mark Mywurtz on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 05:15:17 PM PST

  •  I DO loves me some Al... n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Liberal Granny, alwaysquestion
  •  Al Franken (6+ / 0-)

    Many people assumed - even here on Daily Kos - that with Al Franken as a Senator, he would turn the Senate into a comedy club. It turns out he's a smart, serious Senator. When he was elected four years ago, the Republicans were pretty eager to go after him in 2014, but he's turning out to be a lot more serious than they thought.

    The Minnesota Republicans are pretty likely to nominate a nut to run against him - that's about all they have left. Oh please let it be Bachmann...

    The wolfpack eats venison. The lone wolf eats mice.

    by A Citizen on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 06:59:33 PM PST

    •  I love Al, too, but how can we get rid of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fulgour, alwaysquestion

      Bachmann? I mean I live in Illinois, but I would help defeat her - she's a dangerous idiot.

      •  money and truth repeated over and over (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Liberal Granny

        I'm with you.  Bachmann didn't win by much this last time around.  She is vulnerable.  I threw money in that race to take her down a notch, with hopes of beating her and thereby signaling the decline of the Tea Party.  Also I wanted to give her pause before thinking of entering the Senate race.

        I think Al is going to be on the top of the GOP special interest hit list because he is so effective as a progressive.  I think the GOP has to tamp down the progressive wing of the Dem party as much as they can so the contrast of Dem to Rep is not so great in the voter's view.

        I signed up for the monthly donations to Al's campaign.   Monthly donations are a signal of solid support for the candidate.  But also, like I said, I think Al is going to be attacked and will need the support.

        But also, giving Al money is a great way to influence other senators.  When they ask him for help, he gets their ear and can hold some sway.  His progressive thinking is shared in a more intimate and personal setting and that time means something.

        There are so many layers to this game.  We have to think about what strings are connected before we pull a string.  It is why I almost never give money to a blue dog dem.

  •  I've been pleasantly surprised (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Citizenpower, alwaysquestion

    The best thing about Al Franken, as noted, is that I never see him.  The danger of being too comfortable as a showman was there, but he is doing it right apparently.  I was worried about the virulent partisanship in his books, but there was also the down home midwest liberal in there too.  Glad the latter was the true Franken and the former was just a way to sell books to suckers like us.

    There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

    by slothlax on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 07:25:10 PM PST

  •  Al Franken for President 2016 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alwaysquestion

    Minnesota Magic!

    Democrats...forever visualizing lifeboats on Titanic.

    by Fulgour on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 11:58:18 PM PST

    •  Hey, we've never had (0+ / 0-)

      a Jewish president before, so he could be on the list of viable contenders down the road.  However, I really am ready for a female president.  I really want women's issues all over the world to come to the national stage.  Maybe All could start as VP and we could go from there.

  •  Al Franken is what the Framers had in mind, (0+ / 0-)

    in terms of character, intelligence, and "enlightenment".

    He exceeded my expectations within the first month. I can't remember the last time I saw him, in person or video, when he wasn't on the job. And I would draw a vast distinction between "on the job" and "on the clock".

    Supply follows consumption. You cannot stimulate consumption by crushing the consumer. Deal with it.

    by Zera Lee on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 02:51:47 PM PST

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