Updated: 03/04/2014 2:48 PM
Created: 03/04/2014 2:46 PM WDIO.com
By: Tom Hauser, KSTP-TV
In 2008, Al Franken won a hard-fought race with incumbent Senator Norm Coleman, but he had to be patient. The race resulted in a recount that lasted seven months. When the ballots cleared inspection, Franken was declared the winner by 312 votes.
Fast forward to 2014 and Franken's lead in an exclusive KSTP/SurveyUSA poll isn't nearly that close, but for the incumbent it might be too close for comfort.
Franken's lead over his two closest potential GOP challengers is eight points. He leads state Senator Julianne Ortman and St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg by identical 49 percent to 41 percent margins. Businessman Mike McFadden, the leading fundraiser among GOP candidates, trails Franken by 50 percent to 40 percent.
Three other candidates are further behind. State Representative Jim Abeler trails Franken 49 percent to 37 percent. Harold Shudlick and Monti Moreno each trail Franken by 14 points, 50 percent to 36 percent.
There are many variables still in play eight months before Election Day. Republicans still need to narrow down to one candidate, probably in a primary in August.
Our poll also shows many voters, as many as 10 percent to 15 percent are undecided. One potentially troubling sign for Franken is that among independent voters, he trails the top three GOP contenders by an average 44 percent to 42 percent margin.
The poll of 545 registered voters across the state was conducted Feb. 25-27. It includes phone interviews on both landlines and cell phones. The poll has a margin of error of +-4.3 percent.
Thousands Flock for Two Harbors Beargrease Marathon Start
About 45 teams of mushers and dogs took off on the John Beargrease Marathon trail in Two Harbors Sunday afternoon to cheers from thousands of spectators, despite a departure from the traditional race start at Duluth East High School...
Wisconsin Lawmaker Hopes to End 'Vaping' Indoors
Lawmakers are set to reignite conversations this week about whether vaping - using electronic cigarettes and other vapor smoking devices - should be included in Wisconsin's smoking ban. The ban took effect in 2010. It outlaws smoking in all public indoor locations, including restaurants and bars.
Campground Fees Rise this Year at Michigan State Parks
Fees at state-operated campgrounds in Michigan are going up this year to cover higher costs and pay for maintenance projects. Parks and recreation chief Ron Olson of the Department of Natural Resources says the amount of the increase at a particular site depends on its popularity.
Minnesota Guard Not Going to Liberia After All
Members of the Minnesota National Guard have learned they won't be going to Liberia to help the U.S. military's response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Soldiers from the Rosemount-based 34th Red Bull Infantry Division were supposed to go to Liberia this year in support of Operation United Assistance.
One Man Dead After Car Accident in Aitkin County
A 47-year-old man died after his vehicle was broadsided in east-central Minnesota on Saturday night. The incident happened at the intersection of Highway 18 and Highway 65 in Aitkin County at 9:35 p.m.