Franken starts year with $1.3 million cushion and no clear challenger
Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken is starting his re-election bid with $1.3 million in the bank, according to new campaign finance reports, and a powerful fundraising reach.
While Republicans have been itching to take him on in 2014, the cushion he had at the end of last year could give them a renewed reason to fret that Franken currently does not have a high-profile challenger. The freshman senator raised more than $20 million for his first run against Republican incumbent Norm Coleman and eked out an exceedingly close win after a prolonged recount battle. This time, Franken will have the power of the office on his side.
Republicans say that there is still plenty of time for candidates to come forward and that the eventual candidate will be a natural draw for cash, given the GOP ire at Franken... Last month, Coleman, now a lobbyist and political action committee head, said he would not be that challenger. But both U.S. Reps. John Kline and Erik Paulsen have left open the possibility that they may try to step up to the Senate. Meanwhile, a recent poll found that Republican voters would prefer that U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann take on the Franken race.
Franken has yet to fundraise for his re-election in earnest. Most of last year his fundraising pleas and events were focused on Senate colleagues and other Democrats who were fighting in 2012.