WASHINGTON - 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."
Kline's district is one of three in Minnesota that the DCCC will likely play a role in this fall. In the 1st District, the DCCC is helping U.S. Rep. Tim Walz defend his seat while the group is also engaged in the 8th District, where it hopes to topple first-term Republican U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack.
Despite Kline's strong showing in the past four elections and a million dollars in his war chest, the DCCC and Obermuller say that Kline's votes on the Republican budget and the 2nd District's new boundaries, which now include DFL-leaning South St. Paul, change the electoral math in their favor.
While the DCCC has been making noise about the 2nd District since the new congressional district maps were released in February, it's not clear just how seriously they intend to compete there. Mook declined to say how much material support they would offer Obermuller, and the last DCCC foray against Kline turned out to be a $100 radio ad buy.
Kline's campaign declined to comment on the DCCC's announcement.