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Paulsen/Kline possible 2014 Franken challengers?

by Dan Burns on November 19, 2012 · 8 comments

There is an interesting article in The Hill, regarding the 2014 race in which Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) will be defending his seat.

Reps. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) and John Kline (R-Minn.) are two early mentions for the race.

“I’d put Congressmen Paulsen and Kline at the top of the list, they’d both be very strong candidates,” said Brian McClung, who served as former Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s (R) deputy chief of staff.

Neither congressman would say for sure what his plans are.

I’d be surprised if Kline seriously looks at running.  As chair of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, he already has ample opportunity to indulge his self-important authoritarian tendencies almost to the max, despite his being an incompetent legislator.  He can’t stand to be challenged in any way, and the notion of Franken ripping him to shreds in public has to be anathema to him.

Paulsen, on the other hand, I see as a very real possibility.  Next to a couple of state legislative contests for which I had high hopes, the ease with which he was reelected in MN-03 was my biggest disappointment in Minnesota, this cycle.  He won in a romp because he was able to portray himself as a “sensible moderate.”  His voting record is in fact that of a stone conservative, by any reality-based standard, and I don’t know that he’d be able to successfully disguise that in the hot glare of a contested U.S. Senate race.  We may well find out.

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