McFadden presses Franken for more Senate debates
GOP Senate hopeful Mike McFadden is traveling the state protesting DFL Sen. Al Franken's decision to limit face-to-face meetings with him to three between now and Nov. 4.
GOP Senate hopeful Mike McFadden is traveling the state protesting DFL Sen. Al Franken’s decision to limit face-to-face meetings with him to three between now and Nov. 4.
McFadden said Franken has an obligation to debate more and has challenged the incumbent over it in recent TV ads.
“There were 12 invitations. We said, let’s do six,” said McFadden. “I’m going to continue to show up at these different debates and he can show up as he pleases. I hope he’s there. I encourage him to be there, once again, I think Minnesota deserves it.”
Six years ago when Franken was running against Republican Sen. Norm Coleman they debated five times in addition to taking part in a Farmfest forum.
Franken did share the stage with McFadden at Farmfest early last month, along with other candidates who lost their primary campaigns and won’t be on the November ballot.
“We’ve already debated,” Franken said in August at the Minnesota State Fair. “We did it at Farmfest and we’re going to do three more debates, and so we’re going to have four debates. And I think that’s a good number.”
McFadden has campaigned against Franken for more than a year, but the latest poll published by the Star Tribune this week suggests Franken has a double-digit lead in the race.
Because McFadden is trailing, he needs as many debates as he can get while Franken does not, said University of Minnesota political science professor Larry Jacobs.
“What Franken would like to do is to run out the clock in this campaign,” Jacobs said. “He’s ahead. Few people know who McFadden is, so the strategy is to limit the number of debates.”
McFadden continues to press the issue.
Franken, he said, “doesn’t want Minnesota to know that he’s voted 97 percent for President Obama … I believe that Minnesotans deserve to hear my positions and my views and Sen. Franken’s so that they can make an informed decision when they cast that ballot.”
The first of the three Franken-McFadden debates will take place Oct. 1 in Duluth.