By Don Davis
Twin Cities businessman Mike McFadden took the Republican endorsement to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken in a come-from-behind victory this afternoon.
“I look forward to taking the fight to Al Franken,” he said after being declared the winner.
Vote totals between him and the only other remaining candidate, St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg, were not immediately released.
The win came on the Republican state convention’s 10th ballot. On the ninth ballot, McFadden had taken a lead with 53 percent, seven points short of the 60 percent needed for victory.
The race had turned into a virtual tie this morning after state convention delegates resumed balloting they suspended at 2 a.m. Dahlberg had led in previous ballots.
Balloting began Friday afternoon at Rochester’s Mayo Civic Center.
State Sen. Julianne Ortman was removed from the ballot Friday when she failed to reach a 20 percent threshold. She did not publically endorse either remaining candidate.
State Rep. Jim Abeler of Anoka also was eliminated from the endorsement process, although before the convention he and McFadden said they plan to go on to the Aug. 12 primary election regardless of the convention endorsement outcome.
McFadden continued his campaign today barely able to speak. His staff was working to keep him from talking any more than needed.
In the meantime, Franken was in Duluth receiving the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party endorsement unopposed.
After Republicans finished work on the Senate race, they began voting on governor candidates.