FAIRMONT - Mike McFadden brought his campaign for U.S. Senate to Fairmont on Monday, touting a double-pronged "We can do better" message.
It is aimed at current U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., but also at McFadden's own Republican Party.
On the Franken side of the equation, McFadden links the senator to the presidency and priorities of President Barack Obama. As the alternative, McFadden pledges to repeal and replace Obamacare, the national health care law that promises to get everyone covered, but that has found controversy and doubts in its execution and sustainability.
ON?THE?TRAIL?— Mike McFadden, left, Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, talks business and politics with Culligan proprietor Rich Johnson on Monday afternoon in Fairmont. McFadden made a campaign stop locally as he seeks the Republican endorsement to challenge Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., this fall.
Secondly, the candidate says the American economy can excel again, if it is unleashed. A priority, according to McFadden, is developing American energy resources. Low-cost energy is a key to revitalizing the nation's manufacturing sector, he said, noting his experience in the business world. (McFadden is on a leave of absence as an investment banker.)
As for his view of fellow Republicans, McFadden says they have long expressed a message of limited but effective government, but have fallen short in helping deliver on the "effective" part of the agenda. He says the U.S. military is a standard of effectiveness, and it is this model that should be adopted elsewhere in the federal government.
Discussing these issues and others at the local Culligan dealership, McFadden, 48, used the Polymet mining proposal in northern Minnesota as a lesson. It would involve tapping an estimated $10 billion worth of copper. McFadden says getting a yes or no answer on whether the project can move forward has taken more than seven years and cost more than $150 million, with no resolution.
"What an inefficient, ineffective process," McFadden said. "This is a case study in what is wrong with government."
He noted that in even a nation with stricter environmental laws, such as Germany, a project gets a yes or no answer so that everyone can move on. And noting American innovation, McFadden said hearing a "no" in the United States would mean people getting to work to find solutions to barriers, so that industry and the environment could co-exist.
Moving from the policy side of things to the more practical, McFadden says he knows the coming campaign will require lots of funds. Having raised a hefty $2.2 million for his campaign in the last quarter, he is optimistic.
"What I'm comfortable with and confident in is we'll have the money [to challenge Sen. Franken]," he said.
To get to that point, McFadden is looking to get past several other Republican challengers, all of whom are headed for the state convention on May 30, seeking the party endorsement. The rest of the field includes state Sen. Julianne Ortman of Chanhassen, state Rep. Jim Abeler of Anoka, St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg, Stillwater-area bison farmer Monti Moreno and Phillip Parrish, a former teacher and principal from Medford.
The McFadden camp has taken the position that it is working to earn the party endorsement, but it has not ruled out moving on to the primary. The campaign believes it is doing well in the delegate count as Republicans choose representatives at county and then district conventions.
McFadden is a native of Omaha, Neb. He and his wife, Mary Kate, live in Sunfish Lake, Minn., They have six children.