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, J. Patrick Coolican, Patricia Lopez, Ricardo Lopez, Abby Simons, Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Corey Mitchell, Allison Sherry and Jim Spencer.

Posts about 2nd District

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

District

Party

 Q1 Fundraising

 Cash on Hand

Aaron Miller

First

Republican

 $47,500

 $43,164

Tim Walz, incumbent

First

Democrat

 $195,000

 $411,216

John Kline, incumbent

Second

Republican

 $270,817

 $1,660,000

Thomas Craft

Second

Democrat

 $5,506  $2,966

Mike Obermueller

Second

Democrat

 $81,148

 $238,211

Paula Overby

Second

Democrat

   

Erik Paulsen, incumbent

Third

Republican

 $431,763

 $1,979,136

Sharon Sund

Third

Democrat

 $33,578

 $28,835

Betty McCollum, incumbent

Fourth

Democrat

 $144,652

 $214,079

Keith Ellison, incumbent

Fifth

Democrat

 $288,043

 $229,460

Thomas Emmer

Sixth

Republican

 $206,094

 $252,738

Philip Krinke

Sixth

Republican

 $62,057  $315,744

Rhonda Sivarajah

Sixth

Republican

 $172,759  $214,808

Joe Perske

Sixth

Democrat

   

James Read

Sixth

Democrat

 $26,711  $34,171

Torrey Westrom

Seventh

Republican

 $136,924  $170,729

Collin Peterson, incumbent

Seventh

Democrat

 $218,000

 $522,650

Stewart Mills III

Eighth

Republican

 $203,000

 $355,738

Rick Nolan, incumbent

Eighth

Democrat

 $265,772

 $478,000

Jim Abeler

Senate

Republican

   

Chris Dahlberg

Mike McFadden

Senate

Senate

Republican

Republican

 $600,000

 $1,800,000

Julianne Ortman

Senate

Republican

   

Al Franken, incumbent

Senate

Democrat

 $2,722,189

 $5,933,851

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.