McFadden’s task: Convincing outside money to come

Published 9:58 am Monday, August 18, 2014

ST. PAUL — From the moment Al Franken won his Senate seat by just 312 votes in 2008, Republicans began foretelling his doom in 2014, painting him as a perfect target in their effort to retake the chamber this fall.

The money hasn’t matched the talk yet. While millions of dollars in advertisements have poured into North Carolina, Louisiana, Alaska and Arkansas — from outside groups trying to unseat vulnerable incumbent Democrats and others defending them — there’s been just a trickle in Minnesota, where recently nominated GOP challenger Mike McFadden hopes to oust Franken.

“One of the issues that Mike has … is there are a lot of opportunities for Republicans. Normally, there’s only a few,” said Rob Jesmer, a Republican consultant and former executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “Everyone is trying to figure out where the greatest return on investment is.”

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The money shows Franken’s seat is not yet a top target for Republicans: less than $200,000 in ad buys and mailers from groups on both sides in the Minnesota race, compared with more than $14 million in North Carolina and more than $10 million in other contested states, according to Federal Election Commission filings.