DFL newcomer launches challenge to Kline in 2nd District
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A political newcomer from Eagan is announcing plans to run for Congress as a Democrat in Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District.
Thomas Craft is launching his campaign at a Saturday morning event in the State Capitol rotunda. Craft says he will seek the Democratic Party's endorsement to run against incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. John Kline, who is running for a seventh term in the suburban and exurban district south of the Twin Cities.
Craft describes himself as a tech consultant to private companies on improving efficiency and profitability. The 30-year-old Little Falls native says he believes the best route to overcoming dysfunction in Washington is new lawmakers who will "reasoned debate and political compromise."
Mike Obermueller, a former state lawmaker from Eagan, is also pursuing the DFL endorsement to challenge Kline.
Craft, who was a volunteer for Obermueller's 2012 campaign, said he plans to run a general election campaign different from Obermueller's last run.
He said his background as a father with child care costs and a mortgage will resonate with voters.
"We don't have to run to the center to win this election," he said. "I think the Democratic Party's message can resonate with the people of the 2nd District. I think I also appeal to a different audience. People are sick of normal politicians."
Obermueller said he was not worried about the intraparty challenge from Craft and preferred to focus on Kline's record.
"I have the experience it takes to run a campaign and win a campaign, Obermueller said, "and that's what I think our focus is going to be on. People definitely recognize that there's a contract between Mr. Kline and myself, and I think that's where they really want to see the focus, especially Democrats in this district. They want better leadership, and I think they prefer to stay focused on Mr. Kline than each other."
Kline has won the district convincingly in the past, but Democrats believe they have a strong chance of unseating him in 2014.
Tom Scheck of MPR News contributed to this report.