ST. PAUL, Minn., Aug. 25 (UPI) -- Experts say former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman, R-Minn., and his super PAC have taken a key role in the 2012 Republican campaign efforts.
Coleman, the current mayor of St. Paul, has led efforts to raise and spend money on Republican congressional campaigns, as well as Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Saturday.
"He's become an operative," said Thomas Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C., think tank. "With the amount of money he spends and directs ... he's become a mini-Karl Rove."
The American Action Network, a Republican advocacy organization of which Coleman is a chairman, and the organization's super PAC the Congressional Leadership Fund, have already spent at least $6 million on television air-time to run candidate advocacy ads in U.S. House races this fall.
"He's in the middle of the campaign to hold the House, win the Senate" and win the presidency, said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform and a longtime acquaintance of Coleman's. "Norm Coleman's participation is a sign that says: 'Here be grownups. This is real stuff.'"
In the 2010 elections, the American Action Network spent $21 million on campaign ads.
Minnesota Congressman Vin Weber, who sits on the Congressional Leadership Fund board with Coleman, said the ads the group airs focus on issues in U.S. House and Senate races.
"This is activism," Weber said. "We're not trying to curry favor with safe incumbents."
"I measure our influence by our ability to have a profound impact on public policy in this country," Coleman said. "It's always what's motivated me."