WASHINGTON – Democratic Senate candidate Al Franken raised nearly $2 million in the latest reporting period, pulling in more money than both his Democratic rival and the Republican incumbent, Sen. Norm Coleman.
Franken, a comedian-turned-candidate, announced Monday he had pulled in $1.9 million in the second quarter of the year, covering April through June. Last week, Coleman, R-Minn., said he had raised about $1.6 million in the period, and Democrat Mike Ciresi said he had raised $750,000.
Ciresi, a wealthy lawyer, didn't begin raising money until May.
"It's unusual for a challenger to have this kind of quarter," said Steven S. Smith, a political science professor at Washington University in St. Louis. "It is a very impressive showing."
Coleman still enjoys a healthy advantage in cash on hand, ending the reporting period with $3.8 million, compared to just under $2 million for Franken and $625,000 for Ciresi.
According to Franken's campaign, more than 95 percent of his contributions in the last reporting period were $100 or less.
Franken's emphasis on money raised from small donors could be a way to deflect criticism of "Hollywood" money, which he has tapped from friends and colleagues from the entertainment industry. In the first quarter of the year, scores of actors, writers, producers and others from that field contributed to Franken's campaign.
The extent of their support in the latest period won't be known until Franken files his report on July 15, but the campaign did volunteer that its latest contributors include actors Edward Norton and Meg Ryan.