Minnesota: Franken Tops NPR Poll, Snags Endorsements

Posted February 4, 2008 at 6:45pm

Comedian Al Franken is favored among state Democrats to be the nominee against Sen. Norm Coleman (R) in this year’s highly competitive Senate race, according to a poll sponsored by Minnesota Public Radio and the University of Minnesota.

In the Humphrey Institute poll, Franken received 42 percent, followed by attorney Mike Ciresi at 18 percent. College professor and anti-war activist Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer and environmental attorney Jim Cohen were at 3 and 2 percent, respectively. The poll interviewed 478 self-described Democrats Jan. 18 to 27 and had a margin of error of 4.5 points.

In a head-to-head matchup surveying 917 state residents, Franken bested Coleman 43 to 40 percent. In the same poll, Coleman defeated Ciresi 43 to 38 percent and Nelson-Pallmeyer 47 to 29 percent. That poll had a margin of error of 3.2 points.

Minnesota Republican Chairman Ron Carey said the poll oversampled Democrats in the state.

“Despite the obvious oversampling of Democrats and the failed methodology of the poll, it’s encouraging to see Sen. Coleman’s approval rating at 50 percent, with the overwhelming support of Independents,” Carey said in a statement.

In related news, Cohen announced late last week that he was withdrawing from the Senate race. He urged supporters to pick Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in tonight’s presidential preference poll — and also endorsed Franken.

“While I have advocated fundamental campaign finance reform for years, I am a much more determined advocate now, having experienced firsthand the destructive need for millions of dollars to compete on a level playing field” Cohen said.

In a related development, former Rep. Bob Bergland (D), who served as President Jimmy Carter’s secretary of Agriculture, announced over the weekend that he also is supporting Franken.

The Democratic primary is set for Sept. 9; however, the party’s nominating convention is scheduled for early June, when the party will endorse a candidate. All of the Democratic Senate candidates have said they will adhere to the party’s endorsement and not force a primary.

Teamsters Local Endorses Madia in Open Seat Race

Iraq War veteran Ashwin Madia was endorsed by Teamsters Local 120 over his two Democratic opponents in the 3rd district, according to his campaign.

“As a first generation American, an Iraq War veteran and a professional legal advocate, Ashwin is everything a Congressman should be,” Local 120 President Brad Slawson Jr. said in a statement.

The union is the largest Teamsters local in the state, according Madia’s release.

“We will deliver the support of over 13,000 members for Ashwin,” Slawson added.

State Sen. Terri Bonoff and Edina Mayor Jim Hovland also are running for the Democratic nod in the race for the open seat recently vacated by retiring Rep. Jim Ramstad (R). The nine-term Member fairly easily held onto the barely Republican suburban Twin Cities district, which President Bush carried with 51 percent of the vote in 2004, but the race to replace him should be considerably closer.

The leading Republican candidate is state Rep. Erik Paulsen.
— Shira Toeplitz