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Franken for Senate: A Rural Minnesota Dem Weighs In

If Al Franken runs for Senate, can he appeal to the state’s rural voters, as well as the Democratic base in the Twin Cities?

In this week’s Forward, we took at look at the possibility of an emerging Al Franken-Norm Coleman match-up, and found that at this very early date, Democratic insiders are far from committed to Franken as the nominee, and that there is also much buzz around a potential run by newly elected U.S. Rep. Tim Walz.

When contacted by the Forward, a Democratic official from rural Minnesota echoed this assessment.

“I’m undecided,” wrote Paul Wright, chair of the 7th district Democratic-Farmer-Labor party, in an email to the Forward. “Tim Waltz is the strongest potential candidate of that group. Waltz could beat anybody. Al Franken must convince voters that the entertainer is a serious contender. I think he can do that. Dean Johnson could get elected but it would be a tough race. He had some trouble recently resulting in him losing his legislative seat. Mike Ciresi has been politically dorment for too long but he could re-launch himself into that Senate seat. All four of these candidates could defeat the incumbent. For now, I am undecided. I have been considering them all but I won’t committ to a candidate at this time. I will wait a while to see who is actually going to seek that Senate seat and then choose the strongest candidate among them.”

Minnesota’s seventh district, in case you’re wondering, covers almost the entire western side of the state, except for the southwest corner. It is largely rural, and its largest city is Moorhead, population 32,000.


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