Saturday Night Live alum and ex-Air America radio broadcaster Al Franken has raised more money than any of the other candidates for the U.S. Senate seat from Minnesota, including the Republican incumbent Norm Coleman. Now that the dollar numbers have been logged for the second quarter (April through June) of the past six months of fundraising, Franken has tapped Rosie O’Donnell, Bill Maher, Dan Aykroyd, Robin Williams, Ed Norton, Harold Ramis and Meg Ryan. That followed a first-quarter performance for the liberal comedian that included contributions from Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jason Alexander and Larry David. The AP says Franken’s friends in the entertainment field helped catapult him to a “surprising” lead in second-quarter money: about $1.9 million, compared with only $1.6 million for Coleman, and $750,000 for other Democratic candidate Mike Ciresi. In fact, Coleman is using Franken’s Hollywood connection as a GOP fundraising tool: In a letter to prospective contributors, Coleman wrote: “I need your help to fight back against Hollywood’s liberal elite [who] sit atop the Democratic Party’s elite clique of big benefactors.” But Coleman, who is considered among the Republicans’ most vulnerable incumbents, is relying on a more nefarious source of cash: political action committees, raising $367,000 from PACs in the second quarter. More than a dozen PACs have already given him $10,000, the maximum combined contribution for the primary and general election. By contrast, Franken raised just $11,000 in PAC money.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.