Posted: 01/26/15 18:16, Edited: 01/26/15 18:25
by Dave Mindeman
by Dave Mindeman
Here we are. It's still only January (over 21 months away from the 2016 election) and Congressman John Kline already has TWO challengers to his re-election campaign.
One comes from within his own party - David Gerson. This isn't something new; Gerson has already run twice to wrestle the GOP endorsement away from Kline. The only thing notable about this time around is that he is making his intentions known much earlier than before. Worth some observation, but otherwise not really relevant --- yet.
But the other announcement is a little more surprising. A St. Jude's Corporate executive, Angela Craig, has announced her intentions to seek the DFL endorsement for 2016. She has already stepped away from her VP position in HR to make this run, although she will still stay with the company in a lesser management position.
A few things to note.
1 - Ms. Craig has virtually no political experience. This is good in some ways- bad in others. Her only foray into politics is being a Precinct Chair in Eagan..a position she took on in 2013 - so very recent. Her only other connection is that she and her spouse (Cheryl Greene) held a significant fundraiser for Rep. Laurie Halverson of Eagan. A political novice against the ultimate political animal, John Kline is a tough match-up. However, she also has some long term experience in the other political game of climbing the corporate ladder.
2 - She is gay.... and that is something John Kline has never dealt with very well in a general sense. Oh, we know how he feels about gay marriage and gay rights in general (he's against all of it), but he seems awkward in dealing with it in a political way.
3 - Corporate Exec in the Medical Device Industry. I find that very interesting, which makes me very interested in her political stance on the Medical Device Tax. I would assume, as an executive in the Med Device industry, that she favors its repeal - and that position is not an unusual Democratic position in this state. After all, all 10 of our Representatives are now on record as favoring that repeal. What is more important is the position she takes on the ramifications of that repeal. Because the revenue from the Med Device Tax is one of the financial pillars that pays for Obamacare. Will she insist on some kind of revenue offset? or will she just insist on the repeal and leave that multi-billion dollar hole in ACA financing? Those are questions that need to be answered.
4 - Women Winning Board Member. Craig is on the WomenWinning board, but only recently. The website notes her as a board member since 2014. But I would assume that she would not make this announcement unless WomenWinning was fully on board for support. That is also significant.
There are other questions which will be answered in due time. Does she plan any self financing? Does she have a significant financial network in place? Has she developed any political networking over the past few years? And what are the feelings of other Medical Device Companies execs and board members about her candidacy?
All of that is fodder for another day. But the fact that challenges to Kline are coming out of the gate so early will make 2016 an interesting challenge for our favorite corporate shill, John Kline.