Richard Painter May Run For Al Franken’s Senate Seat

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports:

Richard Painter, a University of Minnesota law professor and prolific TV and Twitter critic of President Donald Trump, said Wednesday that he is forming an exploratory committee that could lead to a campaign for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Al Franken and now occupied by Democrat Tina Smith.

Painter said at a State Capitol news conference that although he’s a longtime Republican and served as chief ethics lawyer in George W. Bush’s White House, he’s unsure whether he would run as a Republican, Democrat or independent.

“I need to think about whether there’s a place for me” in the GOP, he said. “I’m going to be considering any and all options.” He described himself as “a centrist in many ways — right up the middle.” He said he has supported Democrats.

  • j.martindale

    If the man can’t decide whether to run as a Democrat or a Republican, that tells me he obviously doesn’t have the kind of principles we can trust to be a decent politician.

    • Gustav2

      I think he is a decent man, more in the mold of George Romney or Gerald Ford, an old fashioned R, but still a Republican.

      • cleos_mom

        He’s sure to drive up the cost of buying a Senator.

    • crewman

      I’ve seen him on MSNBC a fair bit, and I like him well enough. He might fall into the class of Republican I don’t dislike (old-fashioned moderate, before the purge of moderates occurred). I have never voted for Repubs of that breed personally because they bring all the baggage further to the right of them with them, but I’d much rather have more of them in the ranks.

      • j.martindale

        We are replacing a Democrat here. Last thing we need is another rethug rubber stamp.

        • cleos_mom

          So much for the “blue wave” in November. If some of the comments here are any indication, it will be a cakewalk for any “old fashioned Republican” who’s nice to kitties and puppies.

          • Tomcat

            As far as I am concerned an old fashioned republican is still a damn awful republican.

        • another_steve

          Thank you.

          Every Republican – regardless of whether s/he’s conservative or moderate – who’s elected to Congress helps move the Republican Party closer to control of Congress.

          The Republican Party.

          The party of Pat Robertson, Tony Perkins and Donald Trump.

    • Uncle Mark

      Actually, I’ve been following him for awhile. He was very upset about Al Franken stepping down. At least daily, he was trying to convince Al to stay, and screaming bloody murder about this being an obvious Roger Stone hit job. He LOATHES Trump with a purple passion, and has called out McConnell & Ryan for putting party before country. When I first heard about him, I immediately dismissed him, since he worked for the Bush admin, but after reading and hearing him for 2 years, I have become a big fan of his. I thoroughly understand your cynicism, but I think this is one of the only Republicans, I can actually like after 20 years

      • j.martindale

        If you like him, fine. If you vote for him, he will be in a party that will install judges that will deprive you of equality under the law. That, to me, is a very, very, very bad idea.

  • Boreal

    ‘although he’s a longtime Republican.’


  • Dreaming Vertebrate

    Lifelong reTHUG may run as dem?
    Wow – what a DINO.
    No thanks!

  • Ninja0980
    This ad Sheldon Whitehouse ran back in 2006 says it best.
    Any Republican in the Senate, even moderate ones will still help Republicans keep control of the Senate and if nothing else, still allow horrible judges to get confirmed to the courts.
    So anti-Trump or not, nope.

    • Jim Maloney

      Yes, great commercial – makes the point simply and in 30 seconds. I love sharing it especially for this upcoming election.

  • Mark Née Fuzz

    Almost had me at prolific critic of Trump, but that republican thing though.

  • TuuxKabin

    OT: This’ll be fun. Uncontrolled space junk re-entry:

    • SkokieGuy -Irving Snorkelstein

      Howdy Tuxie. He had a stroke and one side of his face is frozen. Its never cool to make fun of someone’s appearance, like calling Sarah Huckabee a fat cross-eyed ugly whore.

      • TuuxKabin

        Didn’t know that. Thank you. I’ll take it down.

  • j.martindale
  • netxtown

    A lifelong rethug – and he thinks he will flip and every dem will do a hail mary? Nope – it’s obvious he’s already fucking nuts.

    Al Franken needs to run again and take the seat back.

  • BeaverTales

    Who would he caucus with? There are already 2 independents in the Senate. They typically caucus with Democrats, not independently.

    • Gustav2

      Right now I would bet with the D’s. His disdain for the Teavangelicals in charge is noticeable (understatement)

      • BeaverTales

        If he’s lucky, he could be the swing vote if the senate stays divided….that makes him more powerful as an independent.

  • “…he’s unsure whether he would run as a Republican, Democrat or independent.”

  • Harveyrabbit

    Long may he continue to criticize the asshole in the Oval Office. But he’s a Republican and he has the personality of a wet paper bag so there’s no chance he’s going to win in Franken’s former seat.

  • JT

    served as chief ethics lawyer in George W. Bush’s White House

    Well, now, that certainly eases our minds about you.

  • Blake J Butler

    That seat is Tina smiths! Painter does not need to be in that race as a democrat or worse as an independent. They rarely win and they usually siphon off votes that normally would go to a democrats.

    • Gay Fordham Prep Grad

      Correct, plus she is currently 99th in seniority, why would MN want to set itself back further with its senator?

      • unsavedheathen

        Minnesota didn’t want to jettison Franken over a bogus Bannon/Stone hit job but the ambitions to higher office of a few Democratic senators took precedence over the wishes of his constituents.

  • JustDucky

    If this guy could actually win the Republican nomination and he would caucus with the Democratic party, then I’m all for him running as a Republican.

    If he could position himself to siphon votes away from the Republican candidate, then I’m all for him running as an Independent.

    But since he’s a lifelong Republican who views himself as a centrist, he needs to stay the fuck out of the Democratic primary.

  • Ragnar Lothbrok

    If we have to have Republicans, and we do, this is the kind I want.

    That said, Franken’s seat should be held by an ultra left super duper libtard.

    • canoebum

      That was the seat held by Paul Wellstone. Another like him would be just fine, thank you very much.

  • Mike

    There is no such thing as a “centrist” Republican. In the end, they all fall in line. They have to, or that’s the end of their political careers. The last time we turned to a so-called centrist for help (Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and the other “centrist” frauds), they all voted for the Trump tax cuts, and before that, they helped make Betsy DeVos the Sec. of Education. And every day, their presence contributes to the catastrophic Republican majority.

    Let Painter stay on MSNBC with his fellow professional Republicans working hard to build a life raft for the post-Trump Republican party. Let Minnesota elect a staunch progressive to replace Franken.

  • greenmanTN

    Franken got ratfucked. There’s a good article online about how Russian bots were used to amplify the accusations against him and the Democratic leadership rushed to judgement. The GOP wanted to take him down and with the help of Russian and Japanese bots, they did.

    I will not vote for anyone with an R next to their name. They may seem reasonable, a “moderate” Republican, but they will vote with the party and fuck you over, every. single. time.

    It’s simply not viable for an LGBT person or their allies to vote for a Republican. Even if it’s not that candidate’s agenda, in aggregate they will attack gay rights. It’s the nature of the beast, scorpions doing what is in their nature, whatever metaphor works for you.

    • canoebum

      They killed him off almost as effectively as Cheney did Paul Wellstone, Al Franken’s political mentor. (Yes, you read that right, I believe Cheney had Senator Wellstone killed. Icy wings, my ass.)

      • NowAnAgnostic

        Paul Wellstone was a well-liked liberal senator. The dirty repukes couldn’t have that.

        Sorry. First made this comment in reply to The_Wretched.

    • The_Wretched

      The FEDDEMS wanted him gone any way for the sin of being the most liberal Senator. He was amazing in committee and tripped up liars (like Sessions).

    • Uncle Mark

      I have loved your wit, and almost agree with you on everything, except this. I have sworn since the W admin to vote against anything with an “R” next to it, and when I first saw this guy on TV (a former ethics advisor from the W admin), I dismissed him immediately.

      That being said, I’ve been following him for awhile. He was very upset about Al Franken stepping down. At least daily, he was trying to convince Al to stay, and screamed bloody murder about this being an obvious Roger Stone hit job. He LOATHES Trump with a purple passion, and has called out McConnell & Ryan for putting party before country. He tends to be a fiscal conservative and has been highly critical of the Republican health & tax plans. Frankly, I think his party has abandoned him a long time ago, and don’t know why he hasn’t announced becoming a Democrat. I thoroughly understand your cynicism, but I think this is one of the only Republicans, I can actually like after 20 years. You should read his posts and maybe that might change your mind about him.

      I’m still voting “D” everywhere else !! Fuck the GOP

      • greenmanTN

        God knows I’m not the font of all wisdom and you may well be right about him. The only thing I would ask is if there was a vote for something that was discriminatory, perhaps included in a larger bill, would he vote with the herd as a collective block or would he really buck the system? Too often when it’s time for “moderate” Republicans to stand against the tide they don’t, they vote in lockstep and betray the ideals you’re sure they hold. That they don’t really believe it or mean it is cold comfort when you’re on the receiving end of it.

        Rachel Maddow has said many times that we NEED a functional opposing party, that the ideal is that one reasonable party suggests something and the other reasonable party might disagree but they compromise. The problem is that GOP has elevated itself to The Party Of God and has become utterly unreasonable and are doing some really regressive and hateful things.

        What I know about Richard Painter would fit on the back of a matchbook so my criticism isn’t personal to him, but I have learned to be sceptical of so-called moderate Republicans because too often they vote with the party instead of their conscience, with damaging consequences.

        I enjoy your posts too.

  • I’m completely sick of these people who are “unsure” if they should be republicans. Give me a break.

    If you don’t understand that the Republican Party is a wholly owned subsidiary of Putin, Inc you are an idiot.

    I know a lot of America is stupid. And won’t vote for a Democrat because Jeebus. But there are more of us than them.

    Vote by mail, don’t trust the machines. I’m starting to think things are much worse than even my paranoia has imagined.

  • cleos_mom

    If he has to mull over ‘whether there’s a place” in the GOP for him, I hope he has a strong opponent. “Schoolyard picks” are for over-the-hill reality shows and Miz Turnipseed’s third grade class.

  • unsavedheathen

    Thanks again to Gillibrand, Feinstein, Harris, et al for their betrayal of a strong progressive ally and for needlessly putting this Senate seat in play during a midterm election.

  • Steve Smith

    Just what the world needs, another old white man in government.

  • saucetin

    He’d increase his name recognition, if not better his brand, if he just went as Dick.

    Dick Painter, at your service.

  • jayjonson

    He has been a fierce critic of the unprincipled and corrupt Trump. I think he would make a good Senator. On the other hand, I would not even consider supporting him if he runs as a Republican. The Party is toxic. If he runs as an Independent, he would have to commit to caucusing with the Democrats, as Bernie Sanders and Angus King have done.

    • Misutaa Roboto

      And that’s precisely why he shouldn’t run as an independent and caucus with the Democrats. We don’t need someone splitting the Democratic vote and giving the seat to a Trump sycophant.

  • teeveedub

    If Painter is part of a primary, he doesn’t stand a chance as a Republican. There are hours and hours of footage of him criticizing dear leader, in the most outspoken and acerbic way possible. His primary opponents wouldn’t even need to hire an ad agency. They could just run the MSNBC footage of him nonstop, and he’d be toast.

  • Tomcat

    Dems can do much better. In fact I think Al Franken should run again.

  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    While I do like and respect Mr. Painter, the fact remains he is a conservative and Republican which by itself would not be bothersome per se, since he is relatively “liberal” on many issues including LGBT, except for the fact that voting him in would strengthen the GOP and that’s not a wise move at this juncture.

  • JWC

    Eventho Mr Painter is a Republican For all the GOP stands for today That will be his toughest decision I am not all that against A Franken reclaim his seat

  • Cuberly Deux

    Whoda thunk never trumper “conservatives” could have such talent in snark. Do I like Painter? Yep. Would I vote for him? Nope.

    I’d feel the same way re; Rick Wilson.

    The snark has been honed over years of combatting Dems and I just don’t think that’s suddenly going to go away.

  • andrew

    The Senate needs a progressive Democrat in that seat not some lukewarm Republican.

  • Gianni

    I like his views on many things and often wonder why he is still a Republican. He’s not in sync with the party.