Republican financial executive Mike McFadden, who hopes to challenge Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) in November, avoided giving specific answers about his stance on a slew of key issues at a press conference Thursday.
McFadden centered his comments on his plans to cut wasteful federal government spending, but he avoided giving yes or no responses when reporters began asking him questions.
The candidate wouldn't say whether he would have preferred Minnesota use the federal health care exchange rather than a state-based one, whether he would have voted to block debate in the Senate over the Paycheck Fairness Act, whether he supports personhood legislation that could ban some forms of birth control, or whether he supports a state-based effort to increase Minnesota's minimum wage to $9.50 an hour.
He called the vote concerning gender-based pay discrimination an election-year trick and said personhood legislation, which seeks to give fetuses the same rights as people, is a "polarizing" issue that he wouldn't focus on. When asked about the minimum wage, he said it was "the wrong question."
“What I think is really important with politicians and with leaders [is] you understand their overriding philosophies — how do they make decisions?” McFadden told reporters. “And so I’ve been very specific in this campaign as to how I make decisions and it begins with my view of government, my philosophy of government."
Watch a video of the conference taken by Minnesota's Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party above.
McFadden's reluctance to to take strong stances on economic and social issues may come from his need to win over conservatives -- who don't seem to like him much -- in the Republican primary. He faces a challenge from the right in state Sen. Julianne Ortman.
He must simultaneously appear moderate enough to appeal to voters in a state that is increasingly turning blue if he advances to face Franken in November.