Franken declines MPR State Fair debate invitation

Sen. Al Franken talks with reporters in St. Paul. Mark Zdechlik/MPR News file

DFL U.S. Sen. Al Franken’s campaign has declined an MPR News invitation to debate his Republican and Independence Party opponents at the Minnesota State Fair.

State Fair debates have been a tradition for MPR for 20 years.

In 1994 the DFL candidates for governor, John Marty, Mike Hatch and Tony Bouza debated. Democrat Amy Klobuchar and Republican Mark Kennedy debated on the MPR stage in 2006 when they were competing for an open Senate seat. Klobuchar also debated Republican Kurt Bills at the MPR fair booth in 2012.

The decision in recent years by the Legislature to move the primary election to August has ensured that the candidates debating at the fair are the parties’ nominees.

A Franken spokeswoman didn’t give a reason for the decision to decline the invitation. She said the campaign is just now considering invitations and didn’t rule out the traditional final debate hosted by MPR News at the Fitzgerald Theater Nov. 2.

  • Michael Larson

    As a Democrat that supports Al Franken, shame on him! I know that if you are the favorite you think you should avoid debates, but this is not about winning an election. It is about defending your positions and what is good for democracy. Debates help decrease the influence of misleading commercials.

    • Eric Langness

      He’s the favorite because the Republicans put up an absolute prick to run against him. (for the record, I was a delegate to the state GOP convention)

  • AndyBriebart

    What is he afraid of? Someone might actually ask him a question on what he voted for in the last 6 years?

    • J F Hanson

      Al is worried about what to say when he doesn’t know the joke writers.

  • MinnesotaCentral

    FarmFest has announced that at 10:30 a.m. on August 6 fhe major candidates for U.S. Senate in Minnesota have agreed to participate in the forum. This includes incumbent Democratic Sen. Al Franken, as well as challengers Mike McFadden and Jim Abler from the Republican Party, and Kevin Terrell from the Independence Party.
    I hope that Senator Franken re-considers the MPR debate … I am a regular listener to the debates and this would give free time to Kevin Terrell and whomever the Republican primary winner is.

  • Bert Piraino

    C’mon Al, WTF?