WASHINGTON -- Both former GOP Senate candidate Mike McFadden and former first lady Mary Pawlenty this week declined to run for the open seat next year in the Second Congressional District,

This leaves Republicans -- at least so far -- without a big-name candidate to replace Rep. John Kline.

Pawlenty, a private mediator in Eden Prairie and wife to former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, said on Tuesday she appreciated the words of support and encouragement to run for Congress, but in the end liked her current work too much. 

(Is there a jab at Congress in this statement?)

"I am choosing to remain a mediator, a professional who facilitates conflict resolution," she said. "Each of us can and should serve our communities in the best way we know how, and at this phase of my life, my preference is to stay focused on helping people find workable and agreeable solutions to their differences."

McFadden, an investment banker who unsuccessfully ran against Sen. Al Franken last year, also declined to run in the seat left open by Kline's decision not to seek re-election.

There seems to be more activity on the Democratic side. The Second is considered "swing" because Kline has always sustained sturdy wins, despite the district going for Obama in 2012.

Democrats Mary Lawrence, a doctor, and Angie Craig, a St. Jude Medical executive, are both already running and raising respectable cash. Since Kline's announcement, a couple of other DFL state lawmakers, Rep. Joe Atkins and Rep. Rick Hansen, have also expressed interest.

Republican state Reps. Tony Albright, Prior Lake, and Steve Drazkowski, of Mazeppa have also been mentioned.

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