Franzen Defeats Downey in Senate District 49 Race

Publication: Edina Patch
Author: Ryan Gauthier

DFL candidate Melisa Franzen is officially set to represent Senate District 49 at the Capitol next year.

Franzen, who was in a hard-fought race against former Republican State Rep. Keith Downey, managed to pull it out by more than five percentage points, according to unofficial results from the Secretary of State's Office.

With 34 of 34 precincts—which includes Edina, Bloomington and parts of Eden Prairie and Minnetonka—reporting shortly after 1:15 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, Franzen secured the Senate seat with 26,893 votes to Downey's 24,045.

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Star Tribune Endorses Melisa Franzen

Publication: Star Tribune

Melisa Franzen, 32, may be the year's most impressive DFL newcomer. She comes to politics by way of Target Corp., where she has been a government affairs attorney.

Unlike Downey, Franzen strongly supports the proposed Southwest Corridor light-rail line. Unlike Downey, she calls for creation of Minnesota's own health insurance purchasing exchange. Unlike Downey, she opposes the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Unlike Downey, she supports fair taxation of Internet sales. She's on the pro-business side of each of those questions.

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New Faces in DFL Party

Possible agents of change — provided they win — come from the suburbs. Both of Minnesota's major political parties are changeable creatures. Change is just more obvious in one than the other.

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Vice President Walter Mondale & Former Gov. Arne Carlson Endorse Melisa Franzen



October 25th, 2012


Vice President Walter Mondale & Former Gov. Arne Carlson Endorse Melisa Franzen

Two iconic Minnesota public figures, Vice-President Walter Mondale, a Democrat, and former Governor Arne Carlson, a Republican, announced their joint endorsement of Melisa Franzen today. 

Melisa Franzen, an attorney at Target Corporation, is running for the open seat in Minnesota Senate District 49 which includes the communities of Edina, West Bloomington, and portions of Eden Prairie and Minnetonka.

The joint endorsement reflects Franzen's appeal to moderate and independent voters that are pro-business and who value honest fiscal responsibility, but who reject extremist efforts to legislate on social issues like the Marriage Amendment, abortion, and the repeal of pay equity protections for women. 

"I am honored and moved to receive the joint endorsement of one of Minnesota's most admired and revered Democrats, and one of the most forceful and respected Republican voices on fiscal responsibility and sound government," said Franzen. 

Mondale served as Vice-President from 1977 to 1981. He was a United States Senator for two terms and was appointed United States Ambassador to Japan by President Bill Clinton. Mondale started his legal career as the youngest Minnesota Attorney General to ever hold that post. 

Carlson was the Governor of Minnesota for two terms and remains one of the most popular and respected public figures in Minnesota. He also served as the Minnesota State Auditor and served four terms in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Handful of races could decide control of Legislature

Publication: StarTribune
Author: Jim Ragsdale

House by house, vote by vote, Ben Kruse and Melisa Franzen hike through familiar neighborhoods with messages of hope and political deliverance.

Kruse, a low-key Republican in Coon Rapids, and Franzen, a high-octane DFLer in Edina, are performing the timeless rite of "doorknocking" in pursuit of separate state Senate seats. Their doorstep listening sessions are critical parts of the multimillion dollar battle for the biggest statewide prize of the election season: control of the Minnesota Legislature.

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Downey, Franzen Senate race in suburbs key to controlling Legislature

Publication: MPR News
Author: Tom Scheck

EDINA, Minn. — A senate race in the western Minneapolis suburbs could help determine which party will be in charge of the Minnesota Senate next year.

Senate District 49, which includes parts of Edina, Bloomington, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie, is one of several critical legislative seats up for grabs this year, and it just may receive the most attention and money too. Outside groups are spending heavily on the race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Geoff Michel, and the contest highlights partisan differences over the size and scope of state government.

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Open seats may produce big changes in Edina, Bloomington legislative races

Publication: MinnPost
By: Cyndy Brucato

It used to be a Republican stronghold — Senate District 49, which encircles Edina, West Bloomington and now, parts of Eden Prairie and Minnetonka.

But this year, there are no incumbents, no oft-elected candidates who used the district’s strong sense of tradition as part of their winning strategy.

With the open seats, the Republican candidates are taking nothing for granted and DFLers see the prize seats they’ve coveted for years within their grasp.

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Money magnets: Some candidates have significant financial advantage over rivals

Publication: Politics in Minnesota
By: Paul Demko

The Senate District 49 race has attracted more than $100,000 in political contributions — the largest haul of any contest in the state.

GOP state Rep. Keith Downey, who is looking to replace retiring GOP Sen. Geoff Michel, took in just over $65,000, although roughly $28,000 of that was transferred from his House committee. DFL challenger Melisa Franzen reported raising more than $50,000, the highest total for any non-incumbent in the state.

“It gives you credibility,” Franzen said. “It makes a big statement when you are an underdog and you’re running against somebody who has experience at the Legislature.”

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Melisa Franzen Wins the DFL Endorsement!

Edina resident Melisa Franzen secured the DFL endorsement at the Senate
District 49 Convention held on Saturday, March 24th. Franzen took the early lead in the
first ballot and won the endorsement after four ballots.

Franzen mobilized an energetic grassroots campaign that attracted a strong
team of volunteers who executed a disciplined and enthusiastic Convention floor race.
Franzen won the endorsement by bringing new comers and seasoned elected officials
together. Edina City Council member Joni Bennett was a key early supporter of the

“I am proud to accept the DFL endorsement and I will work hard to win the
Senate seat in November,” Franzen said. Franzen, an attorney at Target Corporation,
added “I plan to bring a straight forward, common sense voice to the Capitol. I will be a
strong voice for education, jobs and clean energy, and smart fiscal policy. These are
important issues for the residents of District 49.”

The incumbent Geoff Michel announced earlier that he would not seek re-
election. No Republican challenger

Melisa Franzen to challenge Geoff Michel

MN Progressive Project – The Big E

Melisa Franzen announced today that she will seek the DFL endorsement to challenge former Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Geoff Michel. Michel is the fact-challenged two term Republican from SD41 (Edina and Western Bloomington) who recently was forced to step down as part of the Koch-Brodkorb sex scandal. Michel knew about the affair months before the story broke, but covered it up.  To read the full article, click here.