As I noted just after redistricting, Rep. John Kline (R-MN) is in trouble. His strongly Republican district got a whole lot bluer. Up until now, he held a safe seat — his stances and voting record were ignored as we DFLers couldn’t mount a decent campaign and attract the attention of national Dems.
But regular readers of the Minneapolis Star Tribune wouldn’t know this.
The positions Kline takes matter and the national Dems are paying attention. His past votes matter now, too. I think moderate to liberal voters in the district will care that he’s repeatedly taken positions and made votes that hurt students. And now the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is targeting his race:
The national campaign arm of Democrats in the U.S. House has officially put Republican U.S. Rep. John Kline’s 2nd District seat in its sights. It has put his DFL opponent former state Rep. Mike Obermuller on the group’s “Red to Blue” list of possible districts to add to the Democratic column.
“[Obermuller] is going to have our full support,” said Robby Mook, executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “We are already investing in a ground game there to help make sure we have the infrastructure to turn out the vote.”
So now that Mike Obermueller is our endorsed candidate, the DCCC has him on their radar and Obermueller has pledged to raise $1 million, we can make a race of this.
This is great news for DFLers in the southern suburbs.
But if you’re a “journalist” with the Minneapolis Star Tribune, its a proxy war. This is the kind of meaningless analysis we’d expect from the Strib. The fact that the GOP and Dems are battling over student loans is beside the point in terms of John Kline. If his district had remained as conservative as it was before redistricting, Corey Mitchell wouldn’t be writing this story.
As chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., has challenged President Obama’s policies at every turn, on issues from the No Child Left Behind Act to labor laws.
But it’s his stance on interest rates on Stafford Loans for college students, which will double to 6.8 percent on July 1 if Congress doesn’t act, that has sparked a national debate that’s reverberating through Minnesota weeks later.
An issue that lingered for months with little attention, the student loan debate has now become a proxy war for the November elections: pitting student loans against other priorities such as oil companies, small business or the president’s health care law.
Kline was opposed to keeping loan rates for students low. Then he flip-flopped but in a cynical way in which he knew he could appear as if he was now in favor but would guarantee no Democrat would support it.
But Strib readers wouldn’t know this because they don’t cover Kline very often. And when they do, they often miss the real story. Like why student loan rates and John Kline are now an important story in Minnesota.
I look forward to a larger, brighter spotlight focused on Rep. Kline. It’ll be good to watch him squirm and then run for cover like a bug.