Al Franken another vulnerable Senate Dem

For some reason, Al Franken has not appeared on many lists of vulnerable Senate Democrats. But he is no shoo-in for re-election in November, as John Feehery reminds us in the Wall Street Journal:

In several polls the incumbent, a former Saturday Night Live star, can’t break the 50% mark. Given his narrow victory in 2008 (which some say wasn’t a real victory), it’s probably not that surprising that Mr. Franken is still a polarizing figure.

But after six years in the Senate, one might expect that the incumbent would have built a more comfortable cushion for himself.

When I talked to the challenger at an event a couple of months ago, he told me that Mr. Franken is struggling because he never goes home and talks to real people.

It is true that incumbents who can’t break 50% are vulnerable, since last minute deciders usually don’t break for the known quantity still in office. Add to that the prospect of a wave election, and Franken may be forced back into reading scripts written by smarter people han he (as he did on the former radio network Air America).

Another reason Mr. McFadden is likely to win: Minnesotans have a history of turning on failing presidents. In 1978, they voted out the two Democrats who represented the state as protest against Jimmy Carter. In 1990, Paul Wellstone beat Rudy Boschwitz amid the George H.W. Bush recession. By 2009, Minnesota was represented by two Democrats, a certain reaction to the George W. Bush presidency.

The Obama undertow will not lift the Franken boat. Instead, it will probably sink it.

I am cautiously optimistic, but am keeping in mind the miraculous ability of Minnesota Democrats (aka, the DFL) to come up with last minute votes during the recount.

If you experience technical problems, please write to