First GOP candidate comes forward to challenge Franken

by T.W. Budig
ECM Capitol reporter

Businessman Michael McFadden of Sunfish Lake has become the first Republican to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken in 2014.

“We couldn’t wait until fall,” McFadden said, speaking at the State Capitol on Wednesday, May 29, of filing for office. “We need to raise a lot of money this campaign,” he said.

Republican businessman Mike McFadden intends to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken in 2014. McFadden is the first Republican to challenge Franken. (Photo by T.W. Budig)

Republican businessman Mike McFadden intends to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken in 2014. McFadden is the first Republican to challenge Franken. (Photo by T.W. Budig)

McFadden, who serves on the Board of Directors at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Minneapolis, spoke of becoming a voice for education. He described the American education system as “abysmal” and expensive yet not producing good results.

McFadden spoke of a political philosophy of “limited but effective government.” He suggested Republicans tend to focus more on the limited government, less on effective.

Asked why he was challenging Franken, McFadden said Franken had been in office for more than four years and the national debt remains a problem. He would seek the Republican Party U.S. Senate endorsement, McFadden said, but would not state whether he would abide by it.

“I’m not a politician, I’m a dad,” McFadden said in answer to one question.

His campaign would not focus on divisive issues, McFadden said.

On the issue of same-sex marriage, McFadden said he believed the issue should be dealt with on the state level. Minnesota had a very emotional conversation about the same-sex marriage, he said. He believes the resulting legislation protects religious liberties.

“I think it’s time to move on,” he said.

Democrats were quick to speak out about McFadden.

“Well, there you have it – the Republicans have handpicked another Wall Street millionaire investment banker to do their bidding in Washington,” said DFL State Party Chairman Ken Martin.

“We’ve seen it before. You just can’t trust someone like Mike McFadden who will owe everything to Wall Street, special interest groups and the millionaires that fund them,” he said.

McFadden is co-CEO of Lazard Middle Market Advisory, a group that provides strategic, restructuring, and public and private capital-raising advisory services for companies in the consumer industry, according to the company website. McFadden described Lazard Middle Market as serving more as a middle man in business transactions.

 

Tim Budig can be reached at tim.budig@ecm-inc.com.

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