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McFadden wins Republican U.S. Senate nod

ST. PAUL -- Well-financed Mike McFadden won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Tuesday's Minnesota primary election, and is set to face U.S. Sen. Al Franken in the Nov. 4 election.

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The secretary of state's office reported that McFadden had 72 percent of the vote with nearly all votes counted.

After being declared the winner, McFadden said Minnesotans are frustrated with the federal government.

"Minnesotans feel like President Obama and Sen. Franken have done nothing but take our country in the wrong direction,” McFadden said. “This campaign isn’t just about Republicans or Democrats, it’s about deciding which direction we want to take our country.”

McFadden, who called himself a problem solver, is a Sunfish Lake businessman who raised $1.1 million in the three months leading up to the election. However, Franken raised about three times that. As of June 30, Franken had $5 million in the bank while McFadden reported $2 million.

A Franken-McFadden match-up has drawn national attention, especially since Franken won by only 312 votes in the 2008 election against then-Sen. Norm Coleman. Franken said last week that because of the 2008 election, which required months of a recount and a court case, every section of the state is important.

In his first political run, McFadden, 49, surprised many Republicans by winning the party's endorsement at its May convention.

He and Franken will show the two sides of the political spectrum in the fall campaign. McFadden is conservative and wants to see less government involvement in Americans' lives. Franken generally votes with fellow Democrats, and holds mostly liberal views.

Finishing second in the GOP contest with about 15 percent was state Rep. Jim Abeler of Anoka, who brought 16 years of state House experience to the race but had little money.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, McFadden had 128,981 and Abeler 26,640.

Three other Republican candidates -- David Carlson of Woodbury, Patrick Munro of Princeton and Ole Savior of Minneapolis -- were not factors.

Sandra Henningsgard, an unknown candidate, challenged Franken but found little support.

In the Independence Party, Steve Carlson won the nomination, upsetting party-endorsed Kevin Terrell 34 percent to 22 percent in a eight-candidate race.

There also were three competitive U.S. House races:

-- In the 1st Congressional District, across southern Minnesota, Republican Jim Hagedorn upset party-endorsed Aaron Miller. Hagedorn will face Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Walz.

-- In the 2nd Congressional District, just south of the Twin Cities, Democrat Mike Obermueller beat Michael Roberts to run against Republican U.S. Rep. John Kline, the highest-ranking Minnesota congressman as chairman of the House education and labor committee. Kline defeated Obermueller by carrying 54 percent of the vote two years ago.

-- In the 6th Congressional District, north of the Twin Cities, Tom Emmer dominated Rhonda Sivarajah for the Republican nomination to run for the seat left open by U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann's retirement.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.