It was an odd sight during the final U.S. Senate debate Sunday night. Republican candidate Mike McFadden repeatedly praised the state’s other U.S. senator, Democrat Amy Klobuchar, over her colleague, Democrat Al Franken, who’s seeking another term.
“My respect for Amy Klobuchar has increased so much in terms of her work ethic. She’s everywhere,” said McFadden, in one of his many odes to Klobuchar.
On one level, it’s not a surprise — Klobuchar is by far the most popular politician in the state. She won re-election in 2012 with 65 percent of the vote and has a substantial reservoir of goodwill among Republicans, who view her as a Democrat they can do business with.
Meanwhile, McFadden lags Franken by 10 percentage points, according to an average of recent polls compiled by Real Clear Politics, so he would need Democratic-leaning voters to overcome that deficit.
After the debate, McFadden doubled down and cited the website www.opencongress.org to insist that Franken was the most partisan member of the U.S. Senate and that Klobuchar represented a more pragmatic course that he would seek to emulate.
After reviewing the site, McFadden may want to reconsider his bear hug of the state’s senior senator.
According to the site’s methodology, Franken does vote with Democrats 99 percent of the time. But Klobuchar, McFadden’s symbol of bipartisanship in the Senate, votes with Democrats 97 percent of the time.
Those figures are a reflection of the polarized political culture that’s overcome Capitol Hill and given senators little room to exercise much independence from their parties.
And the Democratic senator Klobuchar is most likely to vote with? Al Franken.
For her part, via Twitter Klobuchar gives no sign of returning the hug.
Heading out to remind people to vote for Al Franken & Mark Dayton. They’ve both worked incredibly hard for our state and gotten things done!
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) November 3, 2014