"If necessary, and regardless of party, I will stand up to the president of the United States," Ortman said.
Away from the Senate, Ortman since 2007 has worked as senior administrative manager in the office of Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek. She said Saturday she had taken an unpaid leave of absence from that job.
State Democratic Party Chairman Ken Martin criticized Ortman for her time in the Legislature, saying she instigated policies that favored large corporations over middle-class families.
In her Waconia speech, Ortman ripped Franken on a number of fronts, including his support for President Obama's health care overhaul, which she said should be repealed. She said the incumbent hasn't done enough to address spiraling national debt, or to rein in surveillance of U.S. citizens by the federal government.
In his bid, McFadden has already lined up support from prominent GOP figures including former U.S. senators Norm Coleman and Rod Grams. He raised more than $750,000 for his campaign in the month of June, an early sign that he hoped to compete with Franken's proven strength as a political fundraiser.
Both McFadden and Abeler have said they would pursue the official GOP endorsement for the Senate race, but both said they might still run in next August's primary without it.
Ortman was less definitive: "I intend to win the endorsement. I'm not going to run against the Republican Party of Minnesota," she said. But she declined to clarify whether that meant she'd end her campaign if she doesn't win the endorsement, which will be conferred at a party convention next summer.