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Former Air America radio personality and comedy writer Al Franken has started telling Democratic Party activists and politicians that he will challenge Norm Coleman for his Senate seat in 2008. The widely predicted move comes earlier than most people would have guessed, and Franken apparently will begin fundraising immediately:
On Monday, Franken announced that he was quitting his radio show on Feb. 14, and he told his audience that they'd be the first to know of his decision. But Franken has been working the phones in recent days, telling his political friends he's ready to declare his candidacy.
The Star Tribune confirmed today that Franken made calls to at least two members of the Minnesota congressional delegation in Washington to break the news. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity, not wanting to pre-empt Franken's announcement.
"From his voice to my ears, he's running," said one House member, who relayed the remark via his press secretary.
"I can tell you we got one of those calls," said a top-ranked aide for another House member.
Franken moved back to his native Minnesota last year in order to prepare the ground for this run. He threw himself into fundraising for Minnesota Democrats, a move that not only helped his party nearly sweep the contested races but also made a point about the primary for the Senate race. His largesse has precluded any of the currently serving Democrats in the state from making any noises about challenging for the endorsement of the DFL.
We can expect Franken to continue to bring in big dollars for his campaign. He has strong ties to the Hollywood elite, and people like Barbra Streisand, Phil Donahue, and Norman Lear will put forth the strongest efforts to ensure his election. He may find that at least partially a liability in this state. The Republicans ran a strong conservative in the last election, Mark Kennedy, and he lost by 20 points to Amy Klobuchar. Now the DFL will run a hard-left Franken against the centrist Coleman, and the sources of his contributions will reinforce his extremist tendencies in a state that dislikes lock-step thinkers.
His behavior and temper may be another obstacle. The picture above was taken of Franken at the 2004 Republican Convention, after he tried to pick a fight with Laura Ingraham's producer (seen in the foreground). He also lost his temper with the ever-mild Michael Medved at the same convention, although he managed not to take a swing at Medved. He also tackled a protestor at a Democratic Party event. If he gets into a tough campaign -- and it certainly will get tense -- he may blow a gasket again. We'll be there when it happens, trust me.Sphere It View blog reactions
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Tracked on January 31, 2007 9:26 PM
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