Wealthy business exec will challenge Senator Franken in MN

After trying for months to recruit a credible Republican candidate in Minnesota to challenge Senator Al Franken, the state GOP may have their man.

Mike McFadden, an executive with the international investment company Lazard, is in the final stages of rolling out his campaign to take on the former Saturday Night Live comic.


McFadden "will formally announce plans next week to run for the US Senate as a Republican challenger to Al Franken in November 2014," according to the April 30 inquiry, which a source shared with POLITICO.


"I am confident you will be learning much about Mike, presently co-CEO of Lazard Middle Market, very soon. Mike is setting up his campaign in earnest, and needs an office location in approximately 30 days," the message continued.

McFadden did not respond to multiple requests for comment, but made it clear last month that he is interested in the Senate race. He told Minnesota Public Radio in early April that he was "in the process of talking with my family, friends, colleagues and party leaders" about a bid against Franken.

He has spoken with national consultants since then to assemble a team for a campaign, sources said.

Apparently, Democrats are planning to give him the "Romney Treatment":

In some respects, McFadden looks on paper like other Republicans who have successfully run for statewide office in the Obama era: In neighboring Wisconsin, Sen. Ron Johnson made the leap directly from the private sector to the Senate on the strength of an anti-spending campaign message and the prodigious use of his personal fortune.

But Democrats also say they expect to be able to use McFadden's business background against him: Lazard Middle Management describes itself as a firm that "provides [mergers and acquisitions] and strategic, restructuring, and public and private capital raising advisory services."

In some cases, that involves helping steer clients through bankruptcy proceedings and layoffs -- the kind of actions President Barack Obama successfully used as fodder for TV ads against Mitt Romney in 2012.

Published reports show that in at least three cases, Lazard Middle Management has been hired to advise companies that subsequently cut workers or moved jobs overseas. The firm reportedly worked with the company True Temper Sports as it closed a plant in Mississippi and entered a Chapter 11 bankruptcy process. And it played an advisory role for the company L&P Plastics as it was sold to an investment group that subsequently closed two plants in the United States and stepped up production in Mexico.

Another rapacious capitalist to target with class warfare ads. Imagine the crime of helping a company go through bankruptcy, or helping to sell a company that, independent of Lazard, then moved factories out of the country.

But the truth hardly matters. To Democrats, businesses are charities to be run for the sole purpose of employing people. With that kind of attitude, the McFaddens and Romneys look like pirates.

How many Minnesotans will buy that message will determine the outcome of the race.