Franken’s seat leans Democratic for 2014

It’s never too early to start thinking about the next election.

Larry Sabato, a political science professor at the University of Virginia, is already dishing out predictions, and so far he thinks DFL Sen. Al Franken will hold on to his seat – unless Republicans put up a strong candidate.

Roll Call gives the Minnesota Senate race a similar rating of “leans Democratic.”

Here’s what Sabato wrote on his “Crystal Ball” blog:

“After winning the narrowest of belated victories in 2009, Sen. Al Franken (D) has a decent approval rating in Gopherland, and he enters his first reelection bid as a slight favorite. We suspect he would trounce Rep. Michele Bachmann (R), who barely survived her 2012 reelection bid in Minnesota’s most Republican House district. Another possibility — one-time presidential contender and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) — will not be a candidate, having landed a lucrative job in association-land. The quality of the Republican challenger will determine much here. Minnesota has a reputation for being more Democratic than it actually is.”

Another possible GOP contender? Third Congressional District Rep. Erik Paulsen, who, when asked if he was interested in the job during an interview with WCCO earlier this week, said he’s focused on representing his suburban Twin Cities region in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Second Congressional District Rep. John Kline is also a possible opponent. His spokesman Troy Young told Roll Call that his boss is “leaving all options on the table for 2014.”

Former Sen. Norm Coleman has been named as a possible Franken contender. But Coleman, who narrowly lost to Franken in 2008 after an expensive and lengthy recount, has been busy with his American Action Network group in Washington, D.C.

  • Melle

    Leans Democratic*

    *Democratic is an adjective, a descriptive part of speech. Democrat is a noun — generally, a person, place, thing, or idea.

    Roll Call uses the proper phrasing “leans Democratic.”

    This ends today’s lesson of things-that-should-have-been-learned-in-elementary-school.

  • Safe ?

    Leans Democratic ?

    Query : When did Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball predict that Michelle Bachmann would be a toss-up ? When did it predict that the outcome of Kline’s race would be closer than Cravaack’s contest ?

    Didn’t Mr. Sabato forecast a toss-up for Cravaack while Kline’s contest wasn’t even considered close … yet Rick Nolan had a greater precentage win than John Kline.

    Senator Franken’s seat is far from Safe … read the rest of the opportunities listed in either report and clearly the GOP will have plenty of Safe seats in the November elections (yes, Lindsey Graham could get a primary challenge, but no Democrat will beat a DeMinted-embraced challenger.)

    Senator Franken will be a major target … remember that Norm Coleman’s group has already started to work within the state … he will not run, but that does not mean that he will not want to participate in taking down Senator Franken.

    Let’s remember that the Obama-McCain contest did not provide coattails for Al Franken … and this time, Governor Dayton will be up for re-election … depending upon an Independence challenger’s presence on the ballot, it will be an all-out assualt on the Dayton-Franken Democrat vision.

    Mr. Sabato’s failure to acknowledge Erik Paulsen indicates his lack of following the Minnesota 2012 Congressional contests ,,,, clearly, Erik Paulsen’s campaign was to expand his name recognition across the state by branding him as the “Math guy who can work across the aisle.”

    Erik Paulsen can start looking for office furniture in the Russell Senate Office Building.

  • Nancy Strandmark

    As a proud Minnesota progressive, I was appalled to read on Wikipedia of some of the votes my representative, Rep. Erik Paulsen has made. He is the father of four daughters (no sons) so, counting his wife, there are five females in his household. Despite that, he had the nerve to vote against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. I would recommend to his wife that she change the locks on the house and not give him a copy of the new key! I would hope that people in my state have the good sense to reject him or whoever ends up being the Republican nominee for the Senate. I don’t want to be represented by anybody from the party of stupidity! Paulsen claims to be the math guy, but Sen. Al Franken has a degree from Harvard with a mathematics major.