THE CARTOON AUCTION paddled along in Washington, but it was Minnesota that especially grabbed the spotlight last week at the National Press Club.

Steve Sack, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune editorial cartoonist who won the Pulitzer this year, was the honorary chairman who greeted guests at Thursday’s Cartoons & Cocktails charity auction.

And Al Franken, the Democratic senator from Minnesota, donated a cartoon (uncommon for a sitting politician): a caricature of former president Nixon. The winning bid for the Franklin original was $550.

Sack — who took the stage to join the night’s emcee, locally based cartoonist Steve Artley — also created the acrylic painting that graced the night’s program: a close-up of Obama.

Sen. Al Franken donated his caricature of President Nixon to the Cartoons & Cocktails 2013 charity event. (by Sen. Al Franken / Courtesy of Cartoons & Cocktails 2013./.)

Nearly 160 cartoons were auctioned off to raise a total of more than $20,000 as of Friday, organizers told Comic Riffs. Sack donated a handful of originals, including work from his 2013 Pulitzer-winning portfolio. Also on the block were cartoons by such other Pulitzer winners as Tony Auth, Steve Breen, Mike Peters and Signe Wilkinson — and longtime Post cartoonist Herblock. (Disclosure: Reporters from The Post were on the bill among the night’s guest auctioneers.)

Salt Lake Tribune cartoonist Pat Bagley drew the night’s highest bid — $800 — for a signed color print depicting young Pakistani school activist Malala Yousafzai. “We clustered a group of human rights-themed cartoons ... to auction, which really captured the attention of the guests,” event chair Kathleen Reilly Mannix told Comic Riffs.

Proceeds from the auction go to two nonprofits: Young D.C. and the Cartoonist Rights Network International — “benefitting local teens learning important skills, and cartoonists around the world being persecuted for their craft,” according to the event.

Cartoons and Cocktails, founded in 1988, bills itself as “the largest annual auction of editorial cartoons in the United States.”