Minneapolis financier Mike McFadden nabbed the GOP endorsement for US Senate on Saturday after two days of political wrangling over the course of 10 ballots at the GOP state convention in Rochester.
Down for the first eight ballots of voting, McFadden reversed the momentum of his main opponent, St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg, who led the convention with surprising strength over nine hours of balloting on Friday and into early Saturday. Delegates decided to adjourn the convention early Saturday morning and resume hours later, which gave McFadden time to shore up his support. Dahlberg bowed out of the endorsement battle before the results of the 10th ballot were read.
McFadden walked off the stage and hugged supporters in the crowded convention center before speaking to reporters in the lobby of the Mayo Civic Center. “It’s an honor to have the endorsement from the Republican Party to be the next United States senator from the great state of Minnesota,” McFadden, who had lost his voice, told the gather supporters and press. “I am humbled and honored to have this endorsement, and I look forward to our fight over the next few months to move this state forward.”
Dahlberg, whose left-field lead held strong over the course of Friday, took a big hit in the eighth ballot before noon on Saturday, when McFadden tied it up. Just before that ballot, the candidates addressed delegates at the convention.
Dahlberg drummed up his experience securing DFL votes as a tribute to his viability as a candidate and again highlighted that he’s pledged to abide by the party endorsement, which McFadden has said he wouldn’t do. Dahlberg — who only had about $39,000 on hand at the end of the last campaign finance reporting cycle — also tried to put to bed concerns that he doesn’t have the funds to mount a serious campaign against incumbent Democrat Al Franken.
“Let’s raise the issue right now up front,” Dahlberg told the crowd. “Some people say it’s all about the money. Well you know what? Poltical graveyards have been filled with campaigns where they thought it was all about the money.”
McFadden hammered home that he had the vision and the organization to mount a credible threat to Franken.“We’ve proven that we can raise the resources to beat Al Franken,” he said.
Ultimately, his message won out. And now, instead of competing within his own party, McFadden must set his sights on the general election this fall assuming state Rep. Jim Abeler, who got cut from the contest early, doesn’t decide to mount a primary challenge.
Seizing on McFadden’s endorsement, the DFL immediately hit back.
“From the day he jumped into the Senate race, Minnesotans have known that investment banker Mike McFadden has a record of making millions on business deals that in many cases cost American workers their jobs,” DFL Party Chair Ken Martin wrote in a memo released to the press.
“I don’t think the DFL has any idea how the economy works,” McFadden said in response to a question about DFL criticisms. “We’ve gone absolutely sideways for the last six years. All they do is put regulation after regulation on business. They have a war on jobs. I look forward to talking about their record on jobs.”