BLAINE (AP) — State Sen. Julianne Ortman has scored a win in a GOP straw poll as she looks to trade up to the U.S. Senate.

Ortman finished ahead of businessman Mike McFadden and several others Saturday in the early test of strength. The off-year poll comes as the party seeks a nominee to challenge Democratic Sen. Al Franken.

The others in the race are: state Rep. Jim Abeler, St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg, farmer Monte Moreno and past candidate Harold Shudlick.

McFadden has a money advantage with $1.2 million in the bank and hasn't ruled out a primary bid if not endorsed next year.

Franken narrowly unseated a GOP incumbent in his 2008 race, but so far his re-election bid hasn't been considered among the top tier of 2014 Senate races.