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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

MN 2nd: The District That "Slipped" Away?

Category: John Kline
Posted: 11/15/12 16:12

by Dave Mindeman

A Politico article mentioned a handful of Congressional races the Congressional Party Caucuses identified as ones that "slipped away". One of the Democratic mentions was the 2nd District in Minnesota - Kline's District......

Minnesota?s 2nd District

Democrats made a late push to win this suburban Twin Cities seat. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee poured $100,000 into a field program and House Majority PAC, a leading outside group, spending $65,000 on TV ads attacking GOP Rep. John Kline for opposing embryonic stem cell research. Still, it wasn?t enough to stop Kline from winning a sixth term.

Democrats say they want to compete more seriously for the district ? which became less Republican friendly during the last round of redistricting ? in 2014. The first task is finding a strong candidate. Their 2012 contender, former state Rep. Mike Obermueller, raised less than $660,000 ? about a third of what the incumbent took in.

There are couple of things wrong with the Democratic assessment here. The first is the "late push". This is a district that needed more hands on workings at an earlier date. A late push in a district where there is an incumbent with entrenchment and plenty of resources is not going to be put "in play" that way.

Secondly, "embryonic stem cell research"? Really? I'm not saying that Kline wasn't vulnerable on that issue, but in this district, there were better choices. The farm bill for one. His education failures for another. His do nothing approach, still another. Kline had problems to exploit, but stem cell research wasn't going to resonate district wide....not this year.

Granted, Obermueller needed to raise more cash, but considering this district's weak track record for support, he actually did better than many others would have right now.

If the Democrats want to continue to make progress in taking back the House, then Minnesota's 2nd will have to continue to be on the list. If Obermueller wants another try, then he should start making his money run as soon as he can. Prove to Congressional Dems that he can meet their expectations and coalesce the district around a stronger campaign.

Congressional Democrats can make a final push in a winnable district, but the groundwork that really puts it in play comes from within the district itself and with a much earlier time frame.

This is doable. Let's get started.

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