ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota's Al Franken barely made it into the Senate, squeaking by with 312 votes in 2008. Minnesota Republicans were salivating at the prospect of snatching the seat back from the former "Saturday Night Live" star in 2014.

So far, that's not playing out according to plan.

Franken barely figures into the GOP's calculations to regain control of the Senate. Republicans don't consider him a top target.

Should a competitive race not materialize, Democrats say much of the credit should go to Franken himself. He's shed his comedic persona and focused on policy since arriving in Washington, working to be taken seriously on issues that affects seniors, veterans and farmers.

A big part of the problem for the GOP in Democratic-leaning Minnesota is that high-profile Republicans don't want to run.