With an insider’s eye, Hot Dish tracks the tastiest bits of Minnesota’s political scene and keep you up-to-date on those elected to serve you.

Contributors in Minnesota: Patrick Condon, Baird Helgeson, Patricia Lopez, Jim Ragsdale, Abby Simons, Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Allison Sherry, Corey Mitchell and Jim Spencer.

Posts about 2nd District

Kline helps craft GOP alternative to Obama’s health care law

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: March 3, 2014 - 6:21 AM

Minnesota congressman John Kline is offering scant details on Republican plans to craft an alternative to President Obama’s health care law.

Kline met privately on Friday with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and fellow Republican Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Dave Camp of Michigan on Friday to begin gathering the party’s best ideas.

The session didn't produce legislation, but Cantor has pledged to introduce a bill this year that would replace the Affordable Care Act and not just repeal it.

To that end, he’s drafted top committee chairs – Kline on Education and the Workforce, Ryan on Budget and Camp on Ways and Means – to build support on their respective panels and find consensus among the party with the help of McMorris Rodgers, who chairs the Republican Conference.

“The American people deserve positive health care solutions and that’s what we intend to deliver,” said Kline spokesman Troy Young. “Congressman Kline is pleased with the meeting and expects this to be the first of many, but it would be premature to address any specific ideas that were discussed today.”

House Republicans, including Kline, have voted more than 50 times to repeal, defund or alter the Affordable Care Act, but thus far been unable to unify around a credible alternative. But the Democratic-led Senate has slammed the brakes on their plans.

Now, months ahead of the 2014 elections, the GOP wants to show what it will do to reform the nation’s health care system, not simply what it opposes.

GOP Rep. John Kline to host campaign event with Tea Party activist Allen West

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: February 18, 2014 - 8:41 AM

Republican U.S. Rep. John Kline will host a campaign event today with Tea Party activist and former congressman Allen West.

Kline and West will participate in a telephone town hall meeting with residents in Kline’s district, which covers the suburbs and exurbs south of the Twin Cities.

Scheduling the event with West -- a favorite of the GOP’s right wing -- may help boost Kline’s conservative bona fides ahead of his district’s April 5 nominating convention.

For the second consecutive election cycle, Kline faces a challenge from the right from David Gerson of South St. Paul. Kline easily defeated him in the 2012 primary, wining 85 percent of the vote.

This time around, Marianne Stebbins – the Minnesota coordinator of Ron Paul's 2012 presidential campaign -- is leading Gerson’s political operation. Stebbins helped Paul capture a majority of the state’s delegates to the 2012 Republican National Convention.

Because he’s a Republican in a district that President Obama won in 2012, Kline is also facing considerable pressure from the left – and partnering with West will do little to dissuade Democratic efforts to link him with the Tea Party.

Washington, D.C.-based Americans United for Change is trying to tie Kline, and other swing-district Republicans, to the conservative movement with “Tea Stained,” a legislative scorecard that ranks lawmakers by votes the group sees as aligned with Tea Party values.

Kline and West have worked together before. In the days leading up to West’s 2010 election, Kline helped host a high-dollar Capitol Hill fundraiser for him, with ticket prices ranging from $500 to $5,000. West served one term in Congress before losing his 2012 re-election bid.

GOP U.S. Senate candidate fundraising numbers arrive

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: February 10, 2014 - 5:01 PM

Newly available campaign finance reports highlight the fundraising disparity in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race.

According to documents on the Federal Election Commission's website on Monday, Republican candidate Julianne Ortman raised $234,000 so far for her bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken and Republican candidate Jim Abeler raised $87,000.

Franken has raised more than $12.4 million for his re-election campaign and had nearly $5 million cash on hand. Republican candidate Mike McFadden raised $2.2 million and had $1.7 million left in the bank at the start of the year. Republican candidate Chris Dahlberg raised far less.

Franken, McFadden and Dahlberg released the summary information from their reports by January 31, back when reports were due to be filed federally.

At that time, neither Ortman or Abeler released details of their fundraising reports. Because Senate candidates do not file their reports electronically, it takes a while for them to be uploaded to the FEC website. Ortman said last week that she had "nearly a quarter of a million dollars in 2013."

House candidates file their reports electronically so their fundraising information is available online when the reports are filed.

See all the fundraising information released by Minnesota's federal candidates for office below.

(scroll to see the numbers)

Rep. Kline's personal birthday greeting to President Reagan

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: February 6, 2014 - 4:16 PM

Republicans across the country took note in various ways of what would have been President Reagan’s 103 birthday on Thursday but one greeting in particular caught our interest.

"Thinking about my friend, President Reagan, who would be 103 today. Happy bday, Mr. President. Our nation misses you," U.S. Rep. John Kline, a Republican from Minnesota's Second district, tweeted.

Along with the tweet, he sent out a photo of himself with the former president:

According to Kline, through his office, the photo was taken in the White House on January 1981 on Reagan's inauguration day. Kline at the time, as Marine Major Kline and charged with carrying the "nuclear football."

Also pictured: Vice President George W. Bush and, with her back to the camera, First Lady Nancy Reagan.

Federal fundraising figures, finally

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: January 31, 2014 - 9:52 AM

Friday is Federal Election Commission deadline day when federal candidates and groups must file their fundraising figures for 2013.

Follow along as we update our chart below with the cash hauls reported the the campaign finance agency.

Note: You may need to scroll a bit to see all the numbers.

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