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Posts about 2nd District

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





Kline has $1.4 million cash advantage over likely Democratic opponent

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: April 15, 2014 - 4:41 PM

Republican U.S. Rep. John Kline’s leading Democratic opponent, former state Rep. Mike Obermueller, raised $81,150 during the first three months of 2014.

With $1.66 million banked for his reelection bid, Kline has an eight-to-one cash advantage over Obermueller, who has roughly $238,000 in cash reserves.

The other Democrats seeking the Second District party nomination, Thomas Craft and Paula Overby, have yet to file their campaign finance reports.

Kline defeated Obermueller, 54 percent to 46 percent, in 2012.

National Democrats had high hopes for Obermueller’s 2014 campaign, but their interest and support has flagged in recent months.

The Rothenberg Political Report, a respected political handicapper, has changed its rating on Kline’s seat, which covers the Twin Cities’ southern suburbs, to “Safe Republican.” Until the change, Kline’s seat had been listed as “Republican-favored.”

The Rothenberg report cited Obermueller’s lackluster fundraising as part of their decision to change the rating.

Unless Democratic groups “decide to spend a couple million dollars to pull Obermueller toward the finish line, it doesn’t like this seat will be playing in the fall,” the Rothernberg report concluded.

The other Democrats seeking the Second District party nomination, Thomas Craft and Paula Overby, have yet to file their campaign finance reports. Democrats in the Second District will choose Kline’s opponent during their April 26 nominating convention.

U.S. Supreme Court decision strikes down aggregate limits on giving; may not have immediate impact on Minnesota law

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: April 2, 2014 - 6:16 PM

On Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court struck down federal limits on how much an individual can give to campaigns in aggregate, which could allow high dollar donors to spread their largess to a wider swath of political hopefuls and parties.

Unlike the federal system, which essentially limited how many donations in total a donor could give, Minnesota law does not place restrictions on the number of campaigns to which a high-dollar donor can contribute.

Current state law allows donors to give massive amounts to parties or PACs and allows donors to spread their donations to as many candidates  or party committees as they wish.

"We’ve never limited the amount that an individual donor can give to a whole group of candidates," said Gary Goldsmith, executive director of the Minnesota campaign finance board. "We don’t limit at all the amount of money that an individual can give to a party."

Minnesota does place limits on how much candidates can accept from certain types of donors but Goldsmith said those restrictions were not considered by the court.

Other states, including Wisconsin, do have laws to limit the aggregate donations a contributor can spend in an election cycle, according to the National Institute of Money in State Politics. Those nine states' laws may be directly impacted by the federal decision.

The Supreme Court did not overturn the concept of limiting what a campaign can accept from a donor. Currently, donors are limited to giving $5,200 per candidate per election cycle to federal candidates. Minnesota law puts similar restrictions on what an individual can give to a single candidate.

The court's decision will have a much more far reaching impact on federal campaigns and parties, including those from Minnesota.

DFL chair Ken Martin said the ruling allows parties to tap donors for funds, even if those donors had already given to multiple other parties or candidates.

"It has a big impact on state parties," said Martin.

Currently, donors are limited to giving $123,200 for 2013 and 2014 in total to all federal campaigns. That limit made federal cash difficult to raise, Martin said. The Minnesota parties were not limited to what they could raise from individuals in their state committees.

After the decision, Minnesota parties will be able to raise more federal money -- up to $10,000 per individual -- from donors whether or not those individuals had already given to many other federal committees.

"That is hugely helpful to state parties," Martin said. He said the lifting of the overall cap will mean that parties can be more involved in helping federal candidates "up and down the ballot here in Minnesota."

Minnesota Republican Party chair Keith Downey said the decision may mean candidates and parties will be able to raise more.

"It will serve to direct campaign spending toward those who are closest to the public and most publicly accountable for their campaign activities. It also underscores the importance of both transparency and the protection of political speech, which are so important in our political process," Downey said.

Several donors with Minnesota ties have contributed enough in 2013 that they could have bumped up against the limit the court struck down.

According to a Star Tribune analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics, John Grundhofer, former chairman of U.S. Bancorps, donated $142,200 through the end of last year and Patricia Grundhofer, whose is listed on federal documents as the director of the John F. Grundhofer Charitable Foundation, donated $125,600. They gave primarily to non-Minnesota Republican committees.

Stanley Hubbard, head of Hubbard Broadcasting and a a frequent donor to state as well as federal causes, gave nearly $100,000 to federal committees last year alone. He said that every election cycle he gets many calls soliciting donations and he has to refuse them because he is maxed out.

Hubbard has a simple prediction for what will happen now that the court rejected the overall limits: "They are going to start calling."


Star Tribune data editor Glenn Howatt contributed to this report.

12-536_e1pf by Rachel E. Stassen-Berger


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