Independent candidate joins race for Franken's Senate seat

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A Roseville resident who backed Ron Paul's insurgent campaign for president in 2012 plans to launch a U.S. Senate campaign in Minnesota as the first Independence Party candidate in the race.

Hannah Nicollet, 39, would join a crowd of candidates seeking to oust Democratic Sen. Al Franken. She did an interview with MPR News Thursday, and then posted a "So I'm running for the U.S. Senate ..." announcement on Facebook:

Nicollet joins several GOP candidates in the race: Minnesota businessman Mike McFadden; state Sen. Julianne Ortman; state Rep. Jim Abeler; St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg; and bison farmer Monti Moreno. Franken has a fundraising lead over his nearest competitor in the money race, McFadden.

As a teenager, Nicollet volunteered for Independent Party candidate Ross Perot's 1992 presidential campaign, and has since supported Libertarian and Republican Party candidates. But she told MPR News she is not a solid supporter of any party.

"Once you swear allegiance to one party, they may put somebody in charge who is suddenly bought off by special interests, and then your allegiance goes in that direction," she told MPR. "I'm never willing to do that so I always base it on individuals.

Nicollet also said she is fiscally conservative and socially liberal. She told MPR she decided to run in December after growing frustrated with the data collection practices of the National Security Agency, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the size of the federal debt.

Nicollet is active on Twitter, voicing opinions on politics and policy. A recent sampling:

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