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It's a slow Senate news day today but PPP's latest poll shows U.S. Senator Al Franken (D. MN) in great shape for re-election:

Al Franken's in good shape heading into his reelection cycle. Our newest poll finds 52% of Minnesota voters approving of him to 41% who disapprove. Those solid numbers are pretty consistent with where we've found him for most of the last year. - PPP, 1/22/13
Franken crushes all GOP contenders tested in this poll.  He beats wealthy Congressman Erik Paulsen (R. MN-3) 50-39, Congressman John Kline (R. MN-2), 49-41, Former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman (R. MN) 50-44 and of course Tea Party Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R. MN-6) 54-40.  It's not surprising that Franken, who won his Senate seat in 2008 after a long recount against Coleman, has become a popular Senator looking safe for re-election.  Franken has transformed himself from the SNL/Bill O'Reilly teasing funny man to a work horse of a public servant.  In fact, Franken only speaks to Minnesota based press to assure his constituents that he is serious about representing the great state of Minnesota.  This has helped Franken so much with his approval ratings that even Coleman, who's declined to seek a rematch with Franken, doesn't think Franken can be beaten:

"You can't play handball in an open field. At this point there's been no candidate," said former GOP Sen. Norm Coleman, who lost to Franken in the 2008 race. "He's been pretty much invisible. In that sense he hasn't created a lot of enemies. I don't know if that's his strategy, but it's a pretty good strategy if it is.” - National Journal, 1/9/13
There are other factors that contribute to Franken's popularity:
Franken’s ground game, fundraising, and out-of-the-limelight approach help explain why. Franken's campaign coffers are flush with cash. His job-approval rating, according to the most recent September Star-Tribune poll, is a healthy 52 percent.  Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., romped to reelection last November, winning nearly every county in the expansive state. Franken has raised nearly $4 million for 2014, with nearly $1.3 million cash on hand. That would give him a healthy head start over his opposition. (By contrast, the Republican Party of Minnesota is still struggling with $1.5 million in debt.) - National Journal, 1/9/13
Franken also earned himself the nick name, "The Tea Party Whisperer" for how he calmly handled an angry Tea Party crowd at a local fair and defended his support for the Affordable Health Care Act:

Now here's the part of this poll that makes me laugh:

The top choice of GOP voters in Minnesota to take on Franken is Michele Bachmann. 45% say they would like her to be their candidate with no one else even coming close-  John Kline is at 19%, Chip Cravaack at 13%, Erik Paulsen at 11%, Laura Brod at 4%, and Rich Stanek at 2%. Bachmann fares equally strongly with voters in the party who identify as 'very conservative' (46%), 'somewhat conservative' (45%), and moderate (also 45%).

The problem with GOP voters in the state wanting Bachmann as their Senate standard bearer is that she does the worst of anyone we tested against Franken, trailing him 54/40, including a 50/39 deficit with independents. Only 35% of voters in the state have a positive opinion of her, compared to 59% who see her in a negative light. The desire of Minnesota Republicans to nominate Bachmann suggests they didn't learn much from their failures last year. - PPP, 1/22/13

Personally, I would love to see Bachmann go up against Franken.  We've learned from the 2012 election that the only way these nut ball Tea Party congressmen can go away is if they give up their seats and run for Senate.  That's why I'm hoping Steven King in Iowa and Virginia Foxx in North Carolina are crazy/stupid enough to run.  Yes their districts are red and most of them will go Republican but by making an asses of themselves on a national level will giver their constituents time to think.  Plus candidates like Foxx, King and Bachmann would have their asses handed to them in big elections like the U.S. Senate.  

Of course the GOP is coming up short with a top tier candidate but that's not going to stop Karl Rove, the Koch Brothers and right-wing Super PACs from dumping money into this race to defeat Al Franken.  If someone like Bachmann jumps in, she's going to need all the money she can get.  So lets help keep Al's war chest thriving, especially since he is one of the lead Senators fighting to overturn the Supreme Court's decision on Citizens United:

Originally posted to pdc on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 01:45 PM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Franken should double dog dare Bachmann to run (11+ / 0-)

    against him.  

    "The world is made for people who aren't cursed with self awareness" -Annie Savoy (Bull Durham)

    by Jacoby Jonze on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 01:47:23 PM PST

  •  I smell a sequel! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83, ratador, Joe Bob

    "Recounting Minnesota -- Part Deux" (pronounced "Duh")

    Where's WineRev? ;-)

    There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

    by Cali Scribe on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 01:50:35 PM PST

    •  Ain't gonna be no recount (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Hey Teaparty! 4 more years of MuslimKenyanSocialism!

      by filby on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 02:10:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here reading this diary (0+ / 0-)

      ....and I agree. In 2014 there will be no recount. The MN GOP is in dire straits (OK, you can add music) financially. They are out of ideas. They lost their majorities in both the MN House and Senate after a lousy 2-year run that saw both of their Constitutional Amendments voted down by the electorate (one defining marriage as one man-one woman, the other one of those ALEC-inspired efforts to strip voting rights from various suspicious groups (the elderly, students, the disabled) who have a propensity for voting Democratic.)
           They have no bench: Coleman, Pawlenty and Bachmann are the only 3 who have statewide name recognition; ex-Sen. Horse Dentures has already said "no." TPaw never got more than 46% in running for gov and only won because of a third party plinter taking a critical few percentage points. And Bachmann barely survived her re-election (4200 vote margin) despite spending more money on the race than any other candidate for the House nationwide. Her brand of crazy is wearing thin in her district and will NOT play well statewide.

      Franken is in nice shape two years out, and one of the oldest rules of politics facing the MN GOP is "you can't beat somebody with nobody."


      "God has given wine to gladden the hearts of people." Psalm 104:15

      by WineRev on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 08:52:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Will AF keep his hands away from my internets (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Raynfala, aliasalias

    this time? No more SOPA / PIPA bullshit?

    “In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.” Terry Pratchett

    by 420 forever on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 01:51:48 PM PST

  •  We had a similar kind of thing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    filby, JBraden, ontario

    here is San Diego for mayor last year. A truly progressive dem (Bob Filner), and a complete asshole, greed driven, corporate tool republican (at least he wasn't insane, too,) Carl DeMaio.

    Yay, the powers of good won that race. I'll give you at least 5 to 1 odd that the same will happen in Minnesota.

    These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people... -Abraham Lincoln

    by HugoDog on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 01:54:25 PM PST

  •  Every Republican Congresscritter in MN (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, RichM, afisher, JBraden, cactusgal, ontario

    should run against Franken. Every one of them.

    I love open House seats.

    Filibuster reform now. No more Gentleman's agreements.

    by bear83 on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 01:55:24 PM PST

  •  You can totally take him, Michele! (7+ / 0-)

    Give up your seat and run!

    We should set up an actblue for her, to convince her!

    When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

    by litho on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 01:57:36 PM PST

  •  Only the Democratic Party can defeat Al (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joe Bob, Mark Mywurtz, JBraden

    The MN Republican Party is still in chaos.  So we will hope Democrats don't do anything totally stupid like cutting Social Security or Medicare benefits.  

    •  I was waiting for your comment. Be honest, are (7+ / 0-)

      you going to troll any diary I put out about Franken claiming that he's going to cut Social Security and calling him a weasel?  I'm not going to stop you, I just want to know.

      Funny Stuff at

      by poopdogcomedy on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 02:00:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Since I vote in Minnesota you're stuck with me (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite, aliasalias

        I'm just saying I see no way Minnesotans are going to vote FOR Republicans but the Democrats could do something to motivate them to vote AGAINST Democrats.

        Paulsen runs effective centrist ads so he might have a chance if Democrats do anything that generates a backlash.

        •  Fair enough. (0+ / 0-)

          Funny Stuff at

          by poopdogcomedy on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 02:08:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Paulsen (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          catadromous, ratador, Joe Bob, JBraden, ontario

          Centrist Ads?? How centrist is it to vote against Sandy Relief?? Paulsen is a do nothing back bencher and would be the weakest candidate against Franken of the bunch.

          I would rate the GOP candidates in this order:

          1. John Kline - He's kind of an old school republican but has conservative cred to win a primary. He's in a district getting more blue everyday. Might be time for him to jump. I think he's the toughest candidate against Franken but also the best chance at a dem pick up in the open House election.

          2. Bachmann - Tea Bagger ranting can win you a lot of GOP primaries. Gets throttled in a statewide run.

          3. Coleman - No one likes a loser and Norm's heart just isn't in it anymore. Franken rolls him this time.

          4. Paulsen - Makes Tim Pawlenty look like the life of the party. The guy has exactly one group of support, Big Pharma & Medical Lobbyists. Hasn't accomplished one thing since going to Washington except voting like Michele Bachmann without the fan fair.

          •  Paulsen has plenty of blue in his district too (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ratador, aliasalias

            I was talking about his ads, not his record.  He runs upbeat fiscally conservative ads which play perfectly in Edina and Minnetonka.  But the marriage and photo id amendments went down with the same voters.  A right winger is likely to lose the western suburbs if he can't frame himself as a center right fiscal conservative and shut up about social issues.  

            But you are right about the primary.  Kline might win the primary.  He's awfully abrasive.  Might be too abrasive against Franken.  

        •  Paulsen is a bar of soap (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joe Bob, JBraden

          he's very good at being bland and non-specific while voting like a teabegger.

          He is a very good liar, and is really the only credible threat to Franken. But Franken is pretty good at stating the obvious and firing back, so I'd still give him the edge.

          After all, Paulsen is well known in this state. And he still polls poorly.

  •  OMG please run Michele! (0+ / 0-)

    I wouldn't even care if her House seat was taken by another Republican.  Bachmann needs to leave Congress NOW!

  •  If Bachmann runs... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poopdogcomedy, bleeding blue, Joe Bob

    Her district is an instant pick up for the Democrats.

    •  well, she probably wouldn't quit (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joe Bob, A Citizen

      because she likes the perks (and immunities) of public office.

      And since she wouldn't win, the possibility is moot.

      But in a weird fantasy world where she did lose, the district would be LESS likely to go to a dem, If the GOP nominated a more "normal" candidate. The reason she is so close to being ousted is that she is a freak of nature and white male indies have a hard time voting for her.

      But the way the MN GOP is these days, they are almost as likely to nominate a trained squirrel to replace her, so really, all bets are off.

      •  That may well be correct (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The Republican Party of Minnesota would find it a challenge to field a candidate who was more of an extremist nutcase than Bachmann - the candidate would in all likelihood be less of an extremist nutcase than Bachmann. To be less crazy than Bachmann is a pretty low threshold.

        Franken has impressed a lot of people. Many people, even here on Daily Kos, assumed that he would turn the Senate into a comedy club. Instead, he's been a serious, well-informed intelligent senator.

        The wolfpack eats venison. The lone wolf eats mice.

        by A Citizen on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 04:21:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  you ain't from around here, is ya. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      MN-06 is both a genuinely conservative area as well as one of the most artfully gerrymandered districts in the whole country. People there are Republican by virtue of tribal identity as much as anything else.

      I totally agree with decembersue. If the GOP could nominate a non-nutjob to run, the district is theirs to lose. Democrats’ best chance to win is if Shelly keeps running for reelection. Minnesotans tend not to like do-nothing showboats, so give her another cycle or two to alienate some more voters. That’s when a Democrat could win.

      Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

      by Joe Bob on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 03:55:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  just because I promised. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

       All thru 2012 - I kept getting emails from Franken campaign.  I finally emailed them back and said "starting in DEC".     Thanks for the diary that reminded me to donate again.


  •  I'd rather beat them on their own turf (0+ / 0-)

    Bachmann most of all.  Take it to their house and beat them on their own turf.  It isn't easy, they all survived this year, but I think it can be done.  It would be a huge morale blow for the wingers.  We can win all of those Senate races against a conventional Republican, but we can't win those House seats against same.  With the kooks at least we have a chance of gaining some seats we normally shouldn't

    There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

    by slothlax on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 02:31:38 PM PST

  •  Oh please god (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Bachmann-Franken...the comedian runs against his own material. And WINS.

    The MN-GOP is a rump of a rump, with many timid white men sticking with the popular independent label.  So only the real nutbags are in the party these days.

    But having her be the candidate? It would be about the same as running the teabegger libby high school teacher whose name NOBODY can remember against Klobuchar.

  •  You see those eyes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    of Bachmann's in the newsweek cover. Frankly, they make her look seriously deranged.  I'll bet that cover can scare small children.

    "Valerie, why am I getting all these emails calling me a classless boor?"

    by TLS66 on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 02:46:54 PM PST

  •  I'm not from Minnesota, and Al has been pretty (0+ / 0-)

    quiet on the national scene, but I did hear him saying good things on wolves. (like he wanted more federal money for control (shoot em). And when pressed about an AWB the other day he said he'd look foreword to carefully reviewing any bill. He just wouldn't come out and commit to an AWB.

    I like Al, wish he were my senator and we have a couple good ones. He's smart, funny, sensible, liberal.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 03:57:16 PM PST

  •  And they wonder why (0+ / 0-)

    we call the Republican party insane!!!

  •  Michelle should resign from Congress (0+ / 0-)

    ... to work on her sexual relationship with Marcus.


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