As regular readers probably know, I have been skeptical of Republican Mike McFadden’s chances of unseating Al Franken in this year’s Senate race. This is not because Franken is invulnerable; on the contrary, Franken has never been very popular and has been a cipher during his six years in Washington. But an incumbent with a D next to his name is never an underdog in a state-wide race in Minnesota, and I hadn’t seen enough from McFadden’s campaign to suggest that he was likely to close the deal with voters.
Still, hope springs eternal. This morning Franken and McFadden held the first of their debates, in Duluth. The Minneapolis Star Tribune had two reporters live-blog the debate. While I don’t know the reporters personally, it is reasonable to assume that they are Democrats.
Their tweets indicate that they were underwhelmed by Franken’s performance. Some examples:
Public polls have shown Franken with a double-digit lead, notwithstanding his lackluster performance in the Senate. The most recent poll, which evidently comes from a Republican source, has Franken up by only six points, 48%-42%. What is consistent about the polling is a lack of enthusiasm for Franken; I don’t think I have ever seen his re-elect percentage above 50. So, who knows? If McFadden continues to run an aggressive campaign, maybe he has a shot.
The Hinderaker-Ward Experience is scheduled to interview McFadden at 6:00 this evening. Assuming nothing goes awry, I will post that interview here, either later tonight or in the morning.
UPDATE: It was announced this morning that Bill Clinton will come to Minnesota to campaign for Franken and Democratic Governor Mark Dayton. It is reasonable to infer that the Franken camp is feeling insecure.