Dan Powers is scheduled to officially announce his campaign to take on GOP Rep. John Kline in Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District. Powers has an invite already scheduled on Facebook and also set up a campaign website.
The sites don't provide a lot of detail on Powers but the Facebook page takes a shot at Kline:
Congressman Kline has consistently been a roadblock to every measure of President Obama's plan to get our country on the right track. While the American people want to see health care reform, an end to the influence of special interests and Washington insiders, and the safe and rapid return of our troops, Kline stands with his bosses in the Republican Party to extend the failed policies of the Bush administration.
Dan Powers, when elected, will stand with President Obama and enact the priorities voters overwhelmingly approved nationwide last year. Dan will fight for the first-class health care system we so desperately need, give teachers the power they need to allow our next generation to achieve in the classroom, and turn our economy around towards prosperity.
Powers could have his hands full. Kline is in his fourth term in Congress and won by wide margins in each race. He won by 15 percentage points in 2008, 16 points in 2006 and 2004 and 11 points in 2002.
Conventional wisdom might interpret Rep. Kline's majorities as an indication of a strong, conservative majority in the 2nd District. Yet I believe Barack Obama did much better in the 2nd District than the Democratic Congressional Candidate, Steve Sarvi, an Army officer honorably and recently returned from Iraq and Kosovo and former mayor of Watertown. The difference might be the treatment given Mr. Sarvi by the increasingly conservative major papers in the Twin Cities, the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press. These papers gave short shrift to the Democratic candidate, and I believe Mr. Sarvi's name recognition was damaged in the process.
Little was said in those papers or other media about Mr. Kline's continued reluctance to contribute a questionable $30,000 to charity or otherwise divest his campaign of these donations which he received from indicted former Congressman and Republican Whip, Tom DeLay. There was similar silence about Mr. Kline's refusal to comment on his support for DeLay's ongoing status as Whip. Likewise, Mr. Kline's initial reluctance and slowness to support body armor for troops in Iraq, and his 96% support of Pres. G.W. Bush's deficit war policies drew little comment in the media. His support of Rep. Don Young's "bridge to nowhere" in Alaska was a point largely unmentioned in the larger media, after Mr. Kline became a vocal convert to "no more earmarks".
When these major papers make no mention of an incumbent's questionable choices, a challenger is saddled with a greater chore. We can say all we want about fairness and balance in Twin Cities media, yet when there is apparent selective coverage favoring an incumbent, it may be no surprise that the opposition doesn't do well.