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Expensive Downey-Franzen Senate race heating up

The state GOP put out a message Friday seeking financial support for Downey because “money is pouring into the district from outside liberal groups.”

The state Senate race in Edina (District 49) seems to keep getting hotter and ever more costly.

Rep. Keith Downey
Rep. Keith Downey

Rep. Keith Downey, who  is giving up his House seat in an effort to fill the Senate seat held by Republican Geoff Michel for the last decade, finds himself in what most believe is a huge tussle with DFLer Melisa Franzen.

How big is the fight?

Friday morning, the state’s Republican Party put out a message to the party faithful that financial support for Downey is needed because “money is pouring into the district from outside liberal groups, making this quite possibly the most expensive legislative race in the state. … Keith’s opponent has been endorsed by far-left liberal Senator Al Franken who is helping bring in even more outside money.’’

On Thursday, the Downey campaign put out a statement defending his vote for a 2011 health and human services bill that was vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton.

Melisa Franzen
Melisa Franzen

But Franken isn’t the only one endorsing Franzen. On Thursday, her campaign announced that she’d received the endorsements of former Vice President Walter Mondale and former GOP Gov. Arne Carlson.

Those endorsements, the Franzen campaign claimed, “reflect Franzen’s appeal to moderate and independent voters that are pro-business and who value honest fiscal responsibility but who reject extremist effort to legislate social issues.’’

DFL strategists have made no secret of the fact they’re attempting to get out the word that Downey was a supporter of the proposed marriage amendment.

This race, all parties agree, is going down to the wire and could prove to be one of those swing seats that determine which party ends up with majority control in the Senate.

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