HBO host Bill Maher is targeting U.S. Rep. John Kline as the Republican lawmaker he wants to oust from Congress in his "Flip a District" challenge.
The comedian and political satirist announced the "winning loser” during a live broadcast of HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" in Washington, D.C., on Friday.
“John Kline doesn’t say kooky things, but he votes just like the people who do,” Maher said.
Calling him the “champion of for-profit colleges,” Maher said he targeted Kline, chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, for voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act more than times and siding against gay marriage and a minimum wage increase.
In 2012, Maher donated $1 million to a political action committee devoted to President Obama’s re-election campaign. But the comedian could have a tough time unseating Kline, who's not a top Democratic target
Kline faces a rematch this year with former Democratic state Rep. Mike Obermueller.
“This news confirms what we’ve been hearing more and more of each day: folks in the [Second District] are tired of John Kline, and they’re ready to kick him out office,” Obermueller said in a statement. “People are fired up and are organizing across the district to remove him from a seat he’s become too comfortable in.”
Obermueller lost to Kline by eight points in 2012, but faces a much less favorable environment in a midterm election year when Kline is expected to coast to re-election.
Like Obermueller, Kline hopes to seize on the announcement as a rallying point. He’s aiming to raise $100,000 for television ads to counteract Maher’s campaign.
“As promised, Maher is turning his liberal guns on our districts and using his TV megaphone and million-dollar war chest to defeat me in November,” Kline wrote in an email to supporters.
“My opponent … is walking hand-in-hand with Maher and has practically named him his campaign manager, focusing on the #FlipADistrict campaign against me and doing whatever he can to pander to Maher and his extreme liberal friends.”
Viewers picked Kline as Maher's target, selecting him over three other House Republicans: Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, Blake Farenthold of Texas and Mike Coffman of Colorado.