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Minnesota: Franken to Sign Off on Valentine’s Day

Comedian Al Franken (D), who is weighing a 2008 Senate bid, is hanging up his microphone.

Franken has been a star attraction on the fledgling Air America radio network since it launched in 2004. Now that the struggling liberal network is being sold, Franken will cease his daily broadcast on Feb. 14, he announced while on the air Monday.

Air America declared bankruptcy last year, which sparked rumors that Franken, and his hefty contract, would not be part of any reconfigured network. The network’s primary new owner is Stephen Green, a New York real estate developer and brother of Mark Green, a frequent Democratic political candidate in New York.

Franken would be a top contender for the Democratic nomination against Sen. Norm Coleman (R) if he takes the plunge, though other Democrats are mentioned as potential challengers.

Franken, who did not offer any insight about his political future Monday, is expected to make a decision any day. Coincidentally, Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), who serves as Democratic Caucus vice chairman and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chairman, was a guest on Franken’s show Monday.
— Nicole Duran

School Board Chairman Wants to Challenge Walz

Freshman Rep. Tim Walz (D) has drawn his first Republican opponent.

Mark Meyer (R), a local school board chairman from Lake Crystal, told the New Ulm Journal last week that he had formed an exploratory committee.

Walz beat then-Rep. Gil Gutknecht (R) to win the Rochester-based 1st district seat last year. He is expected to be a top GOP target in 2008.
— N.D.

Bradley Tells Convention He Wants Old Job Back

Former Rep. Jeb Bradley (R) wants his old job back.

Bradley told New Hampshire Republicans that he would try next year to reclaim the seat that Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) wrested from him in an upset victory in November, according to The Associated Press.

Bradley told delegates at the state party’s annual meeting that he decided days after losing to run again.
— N.D.

Negron Likely to Try Again in 16th District

Former state Rep. Joe Negron (R), who became the designated GOP candidate in the 16th district after then-Rep. Mark Foley (R) resigned from Congress in disgrace in September, wants a rematch with the man who won.

Negron told the Tallahassee Democrat last week that he is preparing to run against freshman Rep. Tim Mahoney (D) in 2008.

Technically, Mahoney defeated Foley in November because it was too late for Foley to be removed from the ballot after he resigned and dropped out of the race. But state Republican leaders designated Negron their replacement candidate, meaning all votes for Foley would accrue to him. But despite the GOP lean of the district — and an aggressive six-week campaign by Negron — Republicans could not prevent a significant number of voters from straying into the Democratic column.

Meanwhile, Mahoney, who will be one of the most targeted Democratic incumbents in 2008, was scheduled to host a $1,000-a-plate fundraising breakfast this morning at Bistro Bis on Capitol Hill.
— N.D.

Busy Night Ahead for Democratic Contributors

Wednesday night will be busy for Democratic donors. Two Congressional caucuses and the new House Majority Leader are holding fundraisers at roughly the same time.

At 5:30 p.m., the political arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, formally known as the Committee for Hispanic Causes/Building Our Leadership Diversity Political Action Committee, is hosting a reception on Capitol Hill. At the very same time, the Blue Dog Coalition, the group for centrist House Democrats, is hosting a reception for health care lobbyists at the Top of the Hill tavern on Pennsylvania Avenue Southeast.

Then, from 6 to 8 p.m., House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) is holding a fundraiser at the Hay-Adams Hotel.
— Josh Kurtz

Iraq Vets Group Targets GOP Senators With Ads

As the Senate prepares to debate several measures critical of President Bush’s call to send an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq, a political action committee for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans has begun airing TV ads targeting several key Republican Senators.

Some of the targets of the ad campaign are some of the most vulnerable GOP Senators up for re-election next year, including Norm Coleman (Minn.), Susan Collins (Maine) and John Sununu (N.H.).

The 30-second ad shows six Iraq War veterans — including one who is visibly disabled — discussing how Bush’s proposal is at odds with the wishes of most Americans and a majority of Congress.

The PAC,, is supplementing the ads with a fly-around to cities in the states of the targeted Senators. On Monday, leaders of the group touched down in Coleman’s home of St. Paul, Minn.; in Indianapolis, home of Sen. Dick Lugar (R), the ranking member on the Foreign Relations Committee; and in Columbus, Ohio, to pressure Sen. George Voinovich (R).

Today, the group is scheduled to land in Portland, Maine, to send a message to Collins and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R); in Manchester, N.H., to target Sununu and Sen. Judd Gregg (R); in Philadelphia, home of Sen. Arlen Specter (R); and in Norfolk and Richmond, Va., to pressure Sen. John Warner (R).
— J.K.

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