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Lawyer Priscilla Lord Faris to challenge Franken in Senate primary

Priscilla Lord Faris
Priscilla Lord Faris

A woman who once donated to Al Franken’s U.S. Senate campaign says she will file to run against Franken in September’s Democratic primary.

Priscilla Lord Faris, who has been involved in politics most of her life but never has run for office, said she has been contemplating running for at least nine months and decided  Friday that she would enter the race.

“I’ve talked to my family and friends. We weighed the pros and cons and, in the end, said, ‘Let’s do it,” Lord Faris told MinnPost today.

Though relatively unknown, Lord Faris could prove to be a test for Franken because she does have natural constituencies. She’s a clear anti-war choice. She’s a former grade school teacher in Golden Valley and Minneapolis. She is a founder of the law firm Faris & Faris, which she says gives her great insight into many of the vexing problems of our times.

Her son, Wayne, was killed in 1989 by a drunk driver when he was 19 years old, prompting her to become hugely active in Mothers Against Drunk Driving. And she is the daughter of Miles Lord, the former Minnesota attorney general and legendary federal court judge.

“I can’t keep him down,” said Lord Faris of her 88-year-old father. “He’s sent me 12 emails already today.”

Lord Faris is 66 years old, “which is young, when you compare me to John McCain.”

Though she started contemplating a run nine months ago at the encouragement of her siblings, she said it is the recent problems that Franken has encountered because of his professional past and his slippage in the polls that was the final push she needed.

“We need a change in Washington,” said Lord Faris. “We (the DFL) should be winning this race against Norm Coleman and we aren’t.”

She said her two adult daughters have encouraged her to run.

“You tell us about Hubert Humphrey and the politics of hope,” she quotes  her daughters as telling her. “That’s what we need now.”

Franken’s campaign said it likely would not comment until Lord Faris officially files. The filing deadline in Minnesota is Tuesday at the close of the business day.

One of the many questions that Lord Faris’ entrance into the race raises is whether it will nudge Mike Ciresi back into the race. Ciresi, who dropped out of the race before the DFL’s convention, has indicated that he might get back into the race for the primary, but has been silent for weeks. He was not immediately available for comment.

Lord Faris said she believes it would take more than $1 million to run “an effective primary campaign.” She expects that her website will be live by late afternoon.

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 07/14/2008 - 01:58 pm.

    Wow! I can’t wait for the pandering debates!

  2. Submitted by Gail O'Hare on 07/14/2008 - 11:18 pm.

    Ms. Faris is obviously intelligent and capable, but she’ll need to define her positions almost instantly and explain why she’s the better Democratic candidate.

    The fact that Franken is down in the current polls is not really significant. Of course, the deadline forced her decision at this time, but a lot can change in the next 4 months; she can’t justify a claim that Franken is losing. Maybe Ventura’s opting out will serve Faris, because his tapdancing has opened people’s minds to the idea that the candidates aren’t cast in stone.

    Still, if she’s a good candidate and is serious about taking on the campaign and six years in Washington, why is this the first glimmer of her political ambition? Where was she a few months ago?

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