Skip To Content

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.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.