Republican Kline seeks seventh term in changing 2nd District

Career College Central Summary:

  • Republican Rep. John Kline, a powerful committee chairman in Washington who is running for a seventh term, faces a changing district that was won by President Obama in 2012.
  • Democrats would like to exploit that paradox with challenger Mike Obermueller, a former Minnesota House legislator who came within eight percentage points of defeating Kline in 2012 in the sprawling Second Congressional District, which now stretches from south of Wabasha into the tip of St. Paul’s outer suburbs.
  • Kline’s voting record is as conservative as partisan brawlers like fellow Minnesotan Rep. Michele Bachmann, which suited the district when it was mostly southern Minnesota.
  • But redistricting in 2010 pushed the district north and west, making it more urban and more diverse. Kline, who nearly always votes with his party, hasn’t changed his views, but in a recent interview he made a point of noting that he was with the president on a recent student loan bill.
  • Kline is finding it hard to maintain his usual low-key approach. He is being pushed front and center into the national spotlight — and not by Obermueller.
  • Instead, HBO comedian and political satirist Bill Maher has singled out Kline for what he calls “Flip a District,” a contest to target a Republican congressman for defeat, flipping the seat to a Democrat.
  • Maher says that Kline’s under-the-radar approach is typical of many representatives who cruise to re-election year after year on name recognition and a huge cash advantage. Maher was scheduled to host a panel discussion on student debt Tuesday in Kline’s district, which is home to Carleton and St. Olaf colleges.

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