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

The 2014 election begins its assault on the airwaves

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: May 7, 2014 - 5:54 PM

Television and radio ads already airing to influence Minnesota voters in races for U.S. House, U.S. Senate and the governor's race and are unlikely to let up until Election Day.

Although the ads are coming late -- during the competitive U.S. Senate race in 2008 the air war was already months old by this point -- their appearance presages a barrage through November.

With potentially heated races for governor and U.S. Senate as Republicans work to wrest both offices from Democrats who won their first races by narrow margins, candidates and their allies will battle across the state's airwaves. National interests see the 8th Congressional District, which has flopped between Democratic and Republican control in recent years, as ripe for a turn over and therefore overdue for more ads.

In the governor's race, Republican Marty Seifert plans to launch his first ad this week, his campaign said on Wednesday. It is the first TV spot in the race that will determine whether DFL Gov. Mark Dayton keeps his job. Andy Post, Seifert's campaign manager, said the ad will run during the Minnesota Wild's Friday night game.

Seifert is in a pitched battle to woo Republicans at the party's endorsing convention this month and the GOP will likely also have a crowded primary in August. Businessman Scott Honour, another contender for Republican votes, has also been running radio ads.

Dayton, who has amassed larger campaign coffers than any of the Republicans running against him, has not yet started television ads. He is focused on the legislative session and unlike in his first election, does not face a primary. His campaign manager Katharine Tinucci said he has the resources to run ads when the time comes but, "that time is not now."

Minnesota viewers may see and hear more ads in the other statewide contest -- the race for the U.S. Senate.

In that race, the most significant candidate media spending has come from Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken. This week started a six figure television ad campaign. He has raised more than all but a few sitting senators so likely has the resources to keep it up.

Republican Senate candidate Mike McFadden started running cable ads a few weeks ago and Republican rival Julianne Ortman began radio ads late last month.

That's only a taste. When Franken first ran, he and then-Sen. Norm Coleman, spent millions on dozens of television ads blasting Minnesotans right until their recount began.

Outside groups are also gearing up. A conservative group launched an anti-Franken ad way back in March.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce included Republican U.S. House candidate Stewart Mills in its $3 million television ad campaign to jump-start Republican campaigns "and unite the business community around their efforts,” Scott Reed, the chamber’s senior political strategist, told the New York Times. 

Interactive: Meet your 2014 Minnesota congressional candidates

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: May 7, 2014 - 11:54 AM

Minnesota’s Democrats and Republicans have selected their candidates to do congressional battle this year.

Over the last several months, activists have gathered in small meetings across the state to pick their favorites. Now their slates are complete. 

In most districts, those picks are expected to have clear sailing to the general election. In at least one, the party-endorsed candidate will still face a primary.

In the map below, find out about this year's congressional combatants.

Graphic: Jamie Hutt, Star Tribune

Star Tribune staff reporter Allison Sherry contributed to this post.

DFL chooses Mike Obermueller to again challenge Rep. John Kline

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: April 28, 2014 - 3:51 PM

A former Eagan state representative and Minneapolis lawyer beat out two others and won the DFL party nomination to again challenge GOP Rep. John Kline this November.

Mike Obermueller won the endorsement on the first ballot round, said Sue Moravec, DFL Chair in the 2nd Congressional District.

"Mike was always very organized, very communicative and objective and he worked hard for this endorsement and he committed to continuting to work hard," she said. "I'm impressed by his willingness to work so hard and the delegates saw that."

Obermueller faces a formidable race in running against Kline, who raised $270,000 during the first quarter and reports having $1.66 million cash on hand.

Obermueller also ran against Kline two years ago and lost by almost eight points. In 2012, the climate was much more favorable to Dems. The Rothenberg Political Report has moved Kline into "safe Republican" territory for this year.

Moravec remains hopeful because she says Kline's politics do not reflect the 2nd Congressional District.

"He has an abysmal record when the issues are middle class isssues, women's issues," she said. "I think he's far too conservative for the district. He doesn't represent mainstream people."

Kline's campaign responded Monday:

“Minnesotans want results instead of petty, partisan attacks and they recognize that whether its ensuring our Minnesota National Guard receive the overdue bonus pay they earned or championing a bipartisan compromise with the president to prevent student loan rates from doubling, Congressman Kline is fighting for them,” said Troy Young, Kline's campaign spokesman, in an e-mailed statement.

Obermueller beat out former South St. Paul Mayor Kathleen Gaylord and Northfield City Council member Patrick Ganey.

Rep. John Kline urges White House to keep troop levels up in Afghanistan

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: April 23, 2014 - 5:52 PM

WASHINGTON -- Rep. John Kline said Wednesday he will urge the Obama administration not to depress troop levels in Afghanistan below 10,000 so the Afghan security forces have some intelligence and logistical support through the year.

Kline, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, spoke on the heels of a nine-day trip he took to the region with GOP House Speaker John Boehner and several other House Republicans.

He said he was hopeful about the how the April 5 presidential election was handled, which is likely heading to a runoff between two candidates. He said the runoff, which will come after the summer "fighting" season, means the Afghan security forces will be stressed and may need additional help, like equipment support.

"There's a number that's being discussed," Kline said, in an interview from Minnesota. "I'm very sure it's more than 10,000 to be able to do the job that's done ... The day to day fighting will be done by the Afghans, but they need support."

The president has not made a final decision on the size of force in Afghanistan after 2014. The top commander in Afghanistan told a Senate committee in May, the number may be between 8,000 and 12,000. There has been a U.S. presence in the country for 13 years.

Kline said he doesn't like talking about timelines or personnel numbers, but "it's unavoidable."

"I think it's the wrong metric," he said.

Kline and the other members also visited Turkey, Portugal and the United Arab Emirates, where they toured a 4 million square foot Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi.

"It's the top of the line," Kline said. "That's the advantage, I guess, of being an oil rich country with leadership that's forward-thinking."

Congress is amid a two-week Easter/Passover recess and returns to Washington next week.

U.S. House and Senate fundraising figures

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: April 16, 2014 - 10:56 AM

Here’s a look at what U.S. House and Senate candidates raised during the first fundraising quarter of 2014 and how much cash on hand their campaigns had at the end of March.

Candidate name



 Q1 Fundraising

 Cash on Hand

Aaron Miller





Tim Walz, incumbent





John Kline, incumbent





Thomas Craft



 $5,506  $2,966

Mike Obermueller





Paula Overby




Erik Paulsen, incumbent





Sharon Sund





Betty McCollum, incumbent





Keith Ellison, incumbent





Thomas Emmer





Philip Krinke



 $62,057  $315,744

Rhonda Sivarajah



 $172,759  $214,808

Joe Perske




James Read



 $26,711  $34,171

Torrey Westrom



 $136,924  $170,729

Collin Peterson, incumbent





Stewart Mills III





Rick Nolan, incumbent





Jim Abeler




Chris Dahlberg

Mike McFadden







Julianne Ortman




Al Franken, incumbent






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