Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Franken's Path to D.C. Could Be a Rocky Road

Bookmark and Share

Al Franken will soon end more than a year of speculation by officially announcing his 2008 candidacy decision for the U.S. Senate on February 14th. As Franken is a 'non traditional' candidate—being an actor, comedian, and a satirist far less subtle than Mark Twain—the media is already comparing his potential candidacy to that of the last prominent non-traditional candidate to emerge in Minnesota—former Governor Jesse Ventura.

But Franken's aim to unseat Republican Norm Coleman is likely to be much tougher than Ventura's upset victory in Election 1998.

First of all, Franken will likely have a crowded field to win his party's nomination. While it is unknown who will take him on, former Attorney General Mike Hatch, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, and 2000 Senate candidate Mike Ciresi are some of the establishment DFL-ers that could comprise that pool of candidates. As much as the DFL would like to take back this Senate seat, it is questionable whether the DFL would endorse a political novice at their 2008 Convention over one of these experienced politicians.

Secondly, Ventura—despite sidestepping political correctness at every turn—was in most ways a political moderate, whose 'common sense' approach to politics appealed not only to independents, but also to the less rabid wings of the DFL and GOP parties in the state. Franken, perhaps deservedly, perhaps not, has earned a reputation of being a "Hollywood Liberal"—so his platform is likely to perceived to be a good deal to the left than the views held by the average Minnesotan.

Thirdly, if Franken could win the DFL nomination, he will have to do one more thing Ventura did not—unseat an incumbent. Ventura ran to fill Arne Carlson's open seat, while Franken will be trying to take down a 1-term Senator. Coleman has not endeared himself to all Minnesotans, but he is not unpopular, with job approval ratings hovering between the high 40s and mid 50s throughout most of his term. Moreover, unless a right-of-center third party candidate emerges for this seat, there would be no opposition to split the conservative vote with Coleman.

It would certainly be a noteworthy chapter in Minnesota politics if Franken could win this seat, for that would mean Norm Coleman—a very experienced politician—would have lost to both a former actor and professional wrestler (Ventura in 1998) and an actor and comedian (Franken) ten years apart. Franken has proven he can raise money (his PAC raised almost $1,000,000 in 2006), but the Republican Party will no doubt see to it that Coleman is flush throughout his campaign.

Previous post: Censuring the Media's Censure Coverage of SD Senator-Page Scandal
Next post: Clinton, Obama, Romney Get Bump in New IA Poll

1 Comment


  • Yea for Al but will his time with Air America affect his run for office. Most democrats see him as a truth seeker and yet Republicans and others see him as an adversary.

    So much so that as for years he has brought focus to corruption and misuse of any political office and the GOP will be on the defense. We need more fanatic level-headed people in office and it's almost sad he had a career as a comedian; will people take him as the grounded American he really is, I hope so...

  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    Strange Bedfellows: A Historical Review of Divided US Senate Delegations

    Over the last century, states have been twice as likely to be represented by a single political party in the U.S. Senate than have a split delegation; only Delaware, Iowa, and Illinois have been divided more than half the time.

    Political Crumbs

    Haugh to Reach New Heights

    The North Carolina U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis may go down to the wire next Tuesday, but along the way Libertarian nominee Sean Haugh is poised to set a state record for a non-major party candidate. Haugh, who previously won 1.5 percent of the vote in the Tar Heel State's 2002 race, has polled at or above five percent in 10 of the last 12 polls that included his name. The current high water mark for a third party or independent candidate in a North Carolina U.S. Senate election is just 3.3 percent, recorded by Libertarian Robert Emory back in 1992. Only one other candidate has eclipsed the three percent mark - Libertarian Christopher Cole with 3.1 percent in 2008.


    Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

    Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


    more POLITICAL CRUMBS

    Humphrey School Sites
    CSPG
    Humphrey New Media Hub

    Issues />

<div id=
    Abortion
    Afghanistan
    Budget and taxes
    Campaign finances
    Crime and punishment
    Economy and jobs
    Education
    Energy
    Environment
    Foreign affairs
    Gender
    Health
    Housing
    Ideology
    Immigration
    Iraq
    Media
    Military
    Partisanship
    Race and ethnicity
    Reapportionment
    Redistricting
    Religion
    Sexuality
    Sports
    Terrorism
    Third parties
    Transportation
    Voting