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Finding common ground, standing up for middle class in new Congress


The following commentary appeared in the Eden Prairie News on January 29, 2015:

I’m grateful to the people of Minnesota for giving me the chance to serve a second term as senator. And I’m ready to keep fighting for middle class families and for families aspiring to be in the middle class.

Republicans now control the Senate majority, and while serving in the minority will be a new experience for me, my job will remain the same: working hard for Minnesota.

And just as I worked across the aisle during my first term when Democrats held the majority, I’ll look for areas of agreement with my Republican colleagues. The cable news shows might focus on conflict, but I believe there’s consensus to be found.

For example, both sides agree we need to cut wasteful spending so we can fund important priorities like education and research and development without running up the deficit.


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McFadden skips three debates, loses three straw polls

Debate dodging takes toll on McFadden’s campaign

Investment banker Mike McFadden proved once again that skipping debates and refusing to address the issues comes with a hefty price tag

Last night, McFadden lost his third straight Republican straw poll in his bid for U.S. Senate, placing a distant and disappointing second in a statewide ballot conducted during precinct caucuses. Over 11,000 Minnesota Republicans voted in the poll.

“McFadden’s blatant disregard for the fact that Minnesotans expect their candidates to be up front with them has clearly cost him,” said Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Chairman Ken Martin. “And on the rare occasion he does talk about the issues he’s gotten caught playing fast and loose with the truth.”

McFadden has already been caught by the Star Tribune for repeatedly using a false claim.

McFadden has suffered disappointing defeats in two other straw polls, including the highly contested U.S. Senate straw poll at the Minnesota GOP’s 2013 State Convention in October and the straw poll conducted by the Minnesota Republican Liberty Caucus in December.

Since entering the Republican primary nearly nine months ago, McFadden has repeatedly gotten heat for refusing to attend debates and for avoiding the issues. He has already skipped three public debates and his first and only confirmed debate is closed to the public and the press. He’s also faced criticism because his campaign website “doesn’t contain an ‘issues’ page” or policy-related content to help Minnesotans learn about what he stands for.

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Precinct Caucus Day: McFadden’s silence keeps voters in the dark

McFadden asks for Minnesotans’ support, offering nothing in return

Tonight at precinct caucuses, Minnesotans will publicly take a stance on the critical issues facing our state—a stark contrast to investment banker Mike McFadden, the candidate asking for their vote, who for nine months has refused to share his position on issues.

McFadden has skipped three public debates and his first and only confirmed debate is closed to the public and the press. McFadden’s also faced criticism because his campaign website “doesn’t contain an ‘issues’ page” or policy-related content to help Minnesotans learn about what he stands for.

“How can Mike McFadden ask Minnesotans to support him when he is unwilling to be honest with them about where stands,” said Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Chairman Ken Martin.

Unlike McFadden, the rest of the Republican Senate challengers have worked hard to be upfront and honest with the public about their stance on issues McFadden continues to dodge, even though we disagree with them.

Last month’s debate in Rochester offers a perfect snapshot on how little Minnesotans know about Mike McFadden on:


Moderator: Do you believe in man-made climate change?

  • Julianne Ortman: “Nope.”
  • Chris Dahlberg: “No.”
  • Jim Abeler:  “Actually cows make a lot of Methane.”
  • Mike McFadden: ????


Moderator: Quite simply, what is your position on the minimum wage…?

  • Julianne Ortman: “… I think that it is a self-defeating effort to raise the minimum wage.”
  • Chris Dahlberg:  “You know, studies have routinely shown that doing this would hit hardest those who are trying to realize the American dream.”
  • Jim Abeler: “Our whole caucus stood against that…”
  • Mike McFadden: ????


Moderator: Do you support a national right to work law?

  • Julianne Ortman: “It’s a state decision.”
  • Chris Dahlberg: “I would have to look at what the legislation said.”
  • Jim Abeler: “A state decision.  It’s a state decision, not a federal decision.”
  • Mike McFadden: ????

“It’s time for Mike McFadden to be honest with the people of Minnesota and answer up,” said Martin.

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mc-fadden-w-250x187Ten Republican activists munched on burgers and sipped beer and soda at a St. Paul bar as Julianne Ortman spent more than an hour on a freezing night trying to convince them she’s their best hope in the upcoming Senate race.

“Al Franken is the yes man for the overreaching liberal agenda of President Obama,” Ortman told the group, most of whom she also buttonholed one-on-one to make her point. The state senator from suburban Carver County is one of six Republicans seeking to run against Franken, the Democratic incumbent, in November.

At dozens of similar gatherings in recent months, Ortman has sought momentum one conversation at a time against fellow Republican Mike McFadden. While Ortman has been going the retail route, McFadden, a businessman from the St. Paul suburb of Sunfish Lake, has so far trained his attention on the fundraising race in his bid to challenge Franken, whose own campaign has been quickly racking up large amounts of cash from contributors.

Julianne-OrtmanThe Republican field is crowded, but it may turn into a race between Ortman and McFadden that stretches all the way to the August primary.

The two are taking very different routes to the prize. Since joining the race in early August, Ortman has appeared at more than 50 events similar to the Senate District 65/House District 66B gathering at Shamrocks: small gatherings of GOP activists at meet-and-greets, banquets, parades and forums. McFadden, who’s been in the race two months longer, has appeared at just over 20 such events. Both campaigns furnished lists of appearances to The Associated Press. (more…)

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©2014 DFL SD 48. Prepared and paid for by Senate District 48 DFL, Sharon Borine, Chair, 18285 Croixwood Ln, Eden Prairie, MN 55347