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U.S. Senate: Mark Kennedy

Mark Kennedy announced his intention to run for the Senate, just two days after incumbent Mark Dayton announced he would not run for re-election. No one was surprised. Speculation that Mark Kennedy would run for the U.S. Senate was been a mainstay of Minnesota politics since late 2003. But first, Kennedy had to survive a challenge from Democrat Patty Wetterling to hold on to his 6th District seat in Congress. Although it was expected to be a close race -- Kennedy won by just 5 percent of the vote -- the Republican's strong showing may have caught notice of those who did not think Kennedy had sufficient strength to wage a statewide campaign. The 6th is a swing district and Wetterling was considered an extremely formidable candidate.

Few members of the Minnesota congressional delegation work harder to keep the support of the party faithful. During the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York, Kennedy was the only member to court the delegates on a daily basis. And they responded to the attention with a level of enthusiasm that they seemed to have withheld from other Minnesota Republicans with more national cachet.

Kennedy is considered an excellent face-to-face campaigner; a trait often more valuable in congressional districts than statewide races. But he's also shown an ability to raise cash. Democrats had hoped a tough race against Wetterling would force him to spend money that might've gone to the Senate race. It did. He raised more than $2.6 million through the end of 2004, and used most of it in his re-election bid.

According to Project Vote Smart, Kennedy's voting record rates favorably with the National Association of Wheat Growers (100%), the National Taxpayers Union (59%), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (93%), the Eagle Forum (80%), the Family Research council (92%) in 2005 rankings. He ranked unfavorably with NARAL (0%), the NAACP (26%), the National Association for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (-3%), the National Education Associatin (0%) , US PIRG (10%), the American Public Health Association (12%) and the Disabled American Veterans (20%). The National Journal says he voted more conservative in 2005 on economic, defense and foreign policy issues than 72 percent of representatives. He did not return respond to Project Vote Smart's National Political Awareness Test.

In his September primary, Kennedy easily dispatched two Republican challengers, winning 90 percent of the Republican vote.

Candidate Bio

Mark Kennedy
Political affiliation:
Republican Party
April 11, 1957
Benson, MN.
Married (Debbie), four children. Catholic. Resides in Watertown.
U.S. Representative. Former CPA, Arthur Anderson, 1978-81; Director of finance for Pillsbury, 1983-87; Treasurer of Federated Department Stores, 1987-92; CFO, Shopko, 1992-95; CFO Dept 56, Inc., 1995-00.
B.A., St. John's, 1979. M.B.A, University of Michigan, 1983.
Major political experience:
Elected to the House in the 2nd District in 2000, defeating DFL incumbent David Minge. Re-elected in 2002 in the newly drawn 6th district, by defeating Janet Robert, 57-35 percent. Defeated Patty Wetterling in 2004, 54-46 percent.

On the Issues

Audio Abortion (3/2/06)
Audio ANWR oil drilling (12/20/05)
Audio Budget (2/10/06)
Audio CAFTA (3/2/06)
Audio China (6/2/05)
Audio Health care (3/2/06)
Audio Immigration (3/2/06)
Audio Iraq (11/25/05)
Audio Iraq - What constitutes success? (3/2/06)
Audio Iran (3/2/06)
Audio Medicare Part D (3/2/06)
Audio Social Security (3/2/06)
Audio Taxes and deficits (3/2/06)

Campaign Contribution Report

Total receipts
Cash on hand

Source: Political Moneyline - October 2006

Links and Resources

Campaign Web site:
Document www.markkennedy06.com
House Web site:
Document markkennedy.house.gov

Candidate Pages

A blogger directed Amy Klobuchar's Senate campaign staffer to a competitor's ad through a Web link. The blogger says he did nothing wrong. Some legal experts disagree. (09/21/2006)
Democrat Amy Klobuchar's U.S. Senate campaign has fired its chief spokeswoman, revealing Wednesday that she viewed an unreleased TV ad for Republican candidate Mark Kennedy that may have been illegally obtained. (09/21/2006)
The two leading U.S. Senate hopefuls used an AARP debate Tuesday night to draw distinctions, not just in differences of policy but in honesty and effectiveness. (09/19/2006)
The DFLer is ahead of Kennedy in virtually every demographic category that the poll measured and has extended a lead among moderates and independents over the summer. (09/18/2006)
The three major party endorsed candidates running for Minnesota's open U.S. Senate seat held a heated debate on health care, the war in Iraq and tax policy Friday at the Minnesota State Fair. (09/01/2006)
The three major party-endorsed U.S. Senate candidates participate in a live debate at the Minnesota State Fair. (Midday, 09/01/2006)
The war in Iraq and homeland security are likely to be the biggest issues in this year's U.S. Senate race. The major party candidates have been airing their differences on those topics this week. (08/18/2006)
Mark Kennedy's 2006 Senate campaign has thus far kept a distance from President Bush, at least in TV campaign ads. Kennedy has however used the White House to raise more than $1.5 million in the last year. (08/17/2006)
The war on terror is suddenly getting a lot more attention on the campaign trail. Minnesota's U.S. Senate candidates were among the politicians who responded quickly to news of the foiled terrorist plot in London to bomb commercial airliners, pledging their resolve to fight terrorism. (08/10/2006)
The Republican-endorsed candidate for Minnesota's U.S. Senate race stepped up his criticism Friday of his chief DFL opponent. Republican Congressman Mark Kennedy said Amy Klobuchar has not taken a clear stance regarding the war in Iraq. Kennedy, who is trailing in the polls, said Minnesota's Senate race could determine which party controls the Senate next year. (08/04/2006)
The candidates for Minnesota's U.S. Senate seat sparred over agriculture policy today at Farmfest near Redwood Falls. Republican Mark Kennedy and Democrat Amy Klobuchar both said it may be a good idea to extend current federal agriculture programs instead of writing a new farm bill next year. They disagreed over which one is the true friend of the farmer. (08/01/2006)
Two of the candidates running for Minnesota's open U.S. Senate seat are on the air with television ads. Republican Mark Kennedy hit the airwaves Tuesday with an ad touting his background. His DFL opponent, Amy Klobuchar, focuses her ads more on her experience as a prosecutor. (07/25/2006)
President Bush vetoed a bill Wednesday that would expand federal research on stem cells obtained from embryos. The issue could also play a role in the November election, since two of the U.S. Senate candidates in Minnesota differ on the issue. (07/19/2006)
Seizing on a seemingly endless string of Washington scandals in recent months, both of Minnesota's leading U.S. Senate candidates are trying to make congressional ethics an issue in their hotly contested race. (06/29/2006)
Just three days before Democrats are expected to endorse a candidate for the U.S. Senate, first lady Laura Bush held a fundraiser for Republican candidate Mark Kennedy on Tuesday night. (06/06/2006)
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