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Grams, Coleman back GOP U.S. Senate hopeful McFadden

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Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden is getting some major support from two big-name former Minnesota politicians.

The Star Tribune reports ex-U.S. Sens. Rod Grams and Norm Coleman will serve as McFadden's honorary co-chairs and serve as advisors as the political newcomer builds his team.

Congressional newspaper The Hill says the backing is a sign the GOP establishment is firmly behind McFadden as their choice to challenge U.S. Sen. Al Franken.

McFadden, a former executive at a Minneapolis financial management firm, has already raised $760,000 in his first few weeks in the race.

Republican state Rep. Jim Abeler of Anoka is also running and Republican state Sen. Julianne Ortman of Chanhassen is expected to announce a bid Saturday.

Tom Erickson, McFadden's campaign manager, said the ex-Senators' experience winning statewide elections will help McFadden's chances. The Associated Press noted Grams and Coleman each served a single Senate term and are the most recent Republicans to hold the office.

(MinnPost has a fun fact: Coleman and Grams are two of Minnesota's eight living former senators, the most in the nation.)

The Star Tribune points out that the officeholders' experience losing elections might also prove beneficial. In 2000, Grams lost his seat to Mark Dayton and Coleman lost to Franken in 2008.

Franken is still a clear front-runner in the race, the Hill reports. The senator has raised nearly $4 million for his campaign this year.

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