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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

Senate candidates Mark Kennedy, Amy Klobuchar and Patty Wetterling each list assets of less than $1 million in financial disclosure forms while a fourth candidate said his assets and liabilities both exceed $50 million, according to an Associated Press review. (05/27/2005)
Citing the potential for a divisive campaign ahead, conservative former U.S. Sen. Rod Grams said Sunday he is ending his bid to return to the Senate in 2006. (04/25/2005)
Another Republican Party heavy hitter, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, endorsed U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy's 2006 campaign Monday as the congressman's lone GOP rival lashed out at party bosses he said were counting him out too soon. (03/07/2005)
Sixth District Rep. Mark Kennedy, R-Minn., has already begun campaigning for U.S. Senate even though Minnesotans won't vote for nearly two years. Democrats say Kennedy is shirking his House of Representatives duties in favor of his Senate bid. (02/25/2005)
U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy is the first candidate to officially jump into the U.S. Senate race. Kennedy, a Republican, announced Friday that he will run for the seat being vacated by DFLer Mark Dayton. (02/11/2005)
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