McFadden wins GOP U.S. Senate endorsement

Mike McFadden Tom Scheck/MPR News

After 10 rounds of voting, Mike McFadden has won his party’s endorsement to run against Sen. Al Franken in the general election this fall.

“I look forward to taking the fight to Al Franken,” McFadden said to delegates at the GOP state convention in Rochester, who paused the voting process early Saturday morning after seven rounds of voting produced no winner.

McFadden, who was running neck-and-neck with St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg until the very end, urged unity among the delegates.

“Together, all of us in this room as a team, will fight and we will win,” he said, “In November, we will beat Al Franken.”

Unlike Dahlberg and a handful of other candidates seeking the endorsement, McFadden said early on he would compete in the August primary even if he didn’t win the party’s backing. Even if other candidates who had less support still run in the primary, securing the endorsement now means McFadden can focus his time and resources on the general election.

It also means McFadden now has access to party money and volunteers, which will help him find and persuade voters.

McFadden’s endorsement was hard-fought. In the first few rounds of voting, McFadden was lagging behind Dahlberg, whose success in the contest was unexpected.

In a speech to delegates after the final ballot, Dahlberg urged his supporters to rally behind McFadden.

“It’s been a great honor to be here,” Dahlberg said. “Let’s go on to win and defeat Al Franken…We’re going to do it, we’re going to get together.”

McFadden is the co-CEO of Lazard Middle Market. He has taken a leave of absence from the firm to run for office.

Already, McFadden’s DFL opponents have used his personal wealth and experience in the private sector to link him to failed presidential candidate Mitt Romney. A late in the game endorsement from 6th Congressional District Rep. Michele Bachmann is also providing fodder for McFadden’s detractors, including the left-leaning Alliance for a Better Minnesota, an outside spending group that will be focusing on the Senate race this year.

“McFadden’s record of helping companies that send jobs overseas and Michele Bachmann’s blessing may appeal to party zealots or special interest insiders in Washington, D.C., but hard-working Minnesotans will see McFadden has no interest in what matters to them,” said Alliance for a Better Minnesota Executive Director Carrie Lucking.