Franken gets first Republican challenger in businessman McFadden

Businessman Mike McFadden became the first Republican to challenge Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) with his announcement Wednesday that he's seeking the first-term senator's seat.


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McFadden, the CEO of a financial services firm, appears in an announcement video with his daughter, both narrating his life story and discussing his contributions to the community throughout his career.

In the video, McFadden says he's running for Senate because he's "very concerned about the direction this country is headed," citing the national debt and the state of the education system, as well as federal spending.

With his business background, he'll be able to partially self-fund his campaign, a necessity running against Franken, who raised nearly $2 million in the first quarter and has $2 million cash on hand.

Though Republicans believe Franken could be vulnerable, having won by just 312 votes in 2008, McFadden is largely unknown, having never run for public office previously, and Franken is still favored to win reelection. A recent poll from Democratic firm Public Policy Polling put McFadden's name recognition at 14 percent, and Franken ahead of him by 15 percent.


Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek (R) and former state Rep. Laura Brod (R) have both also been mentioned as possible contenders, but some of the better-known Republicans in the state, including Reps. John Kline and Erik Paulsen, as well as former Sen. Norm Coleman, have all passed on running.