Anti-Franken Super-PAC Emerges

Photograph by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Senator Al Franken, a Democrat from Minnesota, waits to start a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C.

A super-political action committee has organized to oppose Democratic Sen. Al Franken’s re-election in Minnesota, a state Republicans are seeking to put in play amid an expanding field of competitive Senate elections.

“The Heartland Campaign Fund has been formed to educate the voters of Minnesota on Al Franken’s failed record as a United States Senator,” Greg Johnson, a Republican activist who’s the treasurer of the St. Paul-based committee, said in an e-mail to Political Capital.

The Federal Election Commission processed the super-PAC’s statement of organization on March 18. It’s the latest in a long string of super-PACs created to aid individual candidates. The committees may accept donations in unlimited amounts to independently promote the election or defeat of candidates.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee on March 18 included Minnesota in a list of 14 states where Republicans “are preparing to run successful, well-funded, winning campaigns” for Democratic-held Senate seats. Democrats control 55 of the 100 Senate seats and are the defending party in 21 of the 36 races on the November ballot. Rep. Cory Gardner of Colorado and former Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, eyeing a seat in New Hampshire, have announced campaigns in the past few weeks.

In Minnesota, the crowded Republican field includes Mike McFadden, the former co-CEO of Lazard Middle Market; state Sen. Julianne Ortman; and Chris Dahlberg, a county commissioner and Army veteran. McFadden is the best-funded Republican candidate, with $1.7 million in his campaign fund at the end of 2013 compared to $4.8 million for Franken.

Franken, who’s seeking a second term, led Ortman and Dahlberg by eight percentage points and McFadden by 10 points in a SurveyUSA poll conducted Feb. 25-27.


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