Hollywood donors line up to assist Al Franken’s Senate reelection bid

A slew of Hollywood celebrities, including Tim Meadows, Carl Reiner and Lily Tomlin, have donated this year to Sen. Al Franken’s (D-Minn.) reelection campaign.

According to campaign filings, other entertainers who have provided financial assistance to Franken’s reelection bid are “MacGyver” lead actor Richard Dean Anderson, award-winning songwriter Paul Williams, and author and radio host Garrison Keillor.

ADVERTISEMENT
The former “Saturday Night Live” writer and performer’s Midwest Values PAC, designed to help “elect progressives in the Midwest and nationwide,” has received financial contributions from fellow SNL alums Jane Curtin and Kevin Nealon.

Franken won his 2008 race against then-Sen. Norm Coleman (R) by 312 votes.

Republicans are seeking to run a top-tier candidate against Franken, but Coleman and Rep. John Kline have both ruled out bids. 

Mike McFadden, the co-CEO of Lazard Middle Market, a Minneapolis-based finance and asset management firm, is seriously considering a bid. 

Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) could also seek Franken’s seat.

Franken, who has more than $2 million in his campaign account, has not shied away from campaigning publicly with entertainment moguls.  

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Franken held a fundraising brunch at The Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., in January with musicians Kenny Loggins, Georgia Middleman and Gary Burr.

Late-night talk show host Conan O’Brien also raffled tickets to a brunch at his house last month in order to help support Franken’s 2014 race.

Lawrence Jacobs, the Walter F. and Joan Mondale chairman for political studies at the University of Minnesota, said there are two Al Frankens: Hollywood Al and Prairie Home Al.  

“Hollywood Al is about fundraising and building a war chest so he can win an election,” Jacobs said.

“Prairie Home Al, however, is not funny — and it’s deliberate ... he likes to brag that President Obama calls him the second funniest senator from Minnesota.”

"Sen. Franken has tremendous grassroots support across Minnesota," said Franken Campaign Manager Matt Burgess. "In the first quarter, the Franken campaign had 35,000 donors, and donations from all of Minnesota's 87 counties, with 55 percent of our contributions coming in at $100 or less."


This article was updated at 5:27 p.m. on May 1 to include statement from Franken Campaign Manager Matt Burgess.