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To all Kossacks:  Please take note that these Congressional District Information Diaries are not meant to evaluate whether or not the districts are beatable.  They are meant for Kossacks and others to share information on any knowledge they have on the districts.  

There have been recent Congressional District Information diaries where Kos user comments are talking about "how this person will never be beaten," or "even a scandal wouldn't change anyone's minds."  To be frank, we're not looking for this kind of feedback.  We want real, inside information about the Congressional Districts we cover in our diaries.

We'd like to reach out to any of you Kossacks from Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District for information.  Feel free to add your understanding of the communities, issues, etc.  

This isn't going to be much of a diary.  You can add anything you want about Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District.  Keep in mind this diary is just for information purposes.  Let's not get too carried away with whether or not any of these Knowledge Democrats information gathering diaries mean the Congressional districts in questions are winnable by Democrats or not.  Were here to assess districts across the country, no matter how "deep reed" or "red" or Republican-occupied they are.

What issues directly affect people in Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District?  My colleague Augustin and I are working on the Knowledge Democrats project and I've started working on a wiki page for the 2nd Congressional congressional district in order to assist in our long term efforts to promote progressive candidates in that district, whether at the local, state or federal level.  We understand this district may in fact have a bit conservative constituency but we're looking to reach out to any Kossacks, Democrats or progressives in the state anyway.  It helps for long-term planning.

We also know that the current representative of the district is John Kline.


U.S. House, Minnesota, District 2, General Election, 2012
Party    Candidate                                    Vote %    Votes
        Republican    John Kline Incumbent    54%            193,587
        Democratic     Mike Obermuller            45.8%    164,338
        NA     Write-in                            0.1%            521

Total Votes:  358,446

Source: Minnesota Secretary of State, "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"
http://electionresults.sos.state.mn.us/...

Also, taking politics out of the equation, let others know if you've been to Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District and can point out some good restaurants, venues and places to spend time in there.

So far, we only have the basic information.  What issues should be documented? What important links / articles / information should be added to the wiki page?

Poll

Do you think John Kline should remain in Congress?

9%2 votes
4%1 votes
18%4 votes
54%12 votes
13%3 votes

| 22 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is my district (0+ / 0-)

    I will have some more info on further comments.

    John Kline has sailed past some weak opponents.
    2012 he won in single digits while taking it easy this election cycle. He ran one campaign ad and repeated it.
    Per my recollection, he only debated his opponent once.

    John Kline is a Texan and a Marine with a resume of carrying the nuclear football briefcase for Ronald Reagan.

    Kline refuses to take earmarks. This seems to shortchange federal dollars to the district.

    The district became slightly more liberal after redistricting.
    West Saint Paul areas were added ( previously in Betty McCollum's district. )The district includes South Metro Suburbs, such as mixed racial Burnsville, to weathly Lakeville, expanding exurbs such as Hastings,  and Elko , ,rural towns, and the college town of Northfield.

    Transit is a huge issue, many residents commute to the Twin Cities and are stuck in long commutes, make even longer in bad weather or accidents. With the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers, options for roads are limited to due bridges needed to cross.

    The 2nd congressional district is considered a "lower tax" area. This tends to contribute to relatively lower services, in the form of parks and other "perks" . For example. The bike trail systems lag behind most of the other parts of the metro area.

    One interesting situation for Kline's district is a line of 300 freight cars parked on tracks for 5-7 years in Lakeville. These have brought about graffiti while Progressive Railway refuses to move the cars in the afluent suburb. I am told that the "right away is a federal issue. John Kline has written a letter to the NTSB. No solution appears in sight.

    John Kline gets many contributions from the For-profit post secondary education sector, the same sector he is charged with regulating as chair of the House education committee.

    Education has struggled in this area. For instance, while weathier suburb Lakeville has some of the top ranked schools in the State, it's district has faced millions of dollars in cuts. Meanwhile its neighbor Burnsville has some areas with a large population of  new immigrants, from countries such as Mexico and Somalia. This causes it's schools to struggle trying to spend resources.

    Trivia:
     the highest point of the district is a little ski area, next to Interstate 35. In Burnsville, called Buck Hill, with 350 vertical feet drop, you can cruise to the bottom in about 30- 40 seconds per run. However the ski hill boasts at least 3 alumni olympians including one the the best female skiers in history- Lindsey Vonn.  She grew up there learning to ski race.

    John Kline , although voting along Republican lines, tends to try to stay out of the limelight. When I door knocked last fall, voters would commonly split their ticket with D- Senator Amy Klobachar and R- John Kline. Both candidates tend to work relatively quietly.

    John Kline tends to engage constituents in telephone town hall meetings.  You never know when you will get called, and questions tend to be screened. He work these pretty easily, spouting standard Republican talking points including less taxes on job creators, Kill Obamacare, and cutting government spending.

    The media tends to be silent on John Kline. Around election time, you will see some local puff pieces.

    A couple of the local media stations are controlled by Republican donors including Stanley Hubbard (5- KSTP)
    and of course, the local Fox affiliate. (myfox9 Twin Cities)

    A new aggressive media opportunity is an online newspaper called
    patch.com.
    This is a newer option to reach local informed voters.

    •  The district is home to one of the most popular (0+ / 0-)

      tourist destinations in the country.
      The Mall of America. This is accessible by light rail line from the airport and is popular with many people flying in simply to go shopping. There is no sales tax on clothing.

      There is a planned Phase two for the Mall across the street,  however, planners are relying on subsidies and TIF financing to help build this. The Great Recession tempered down these plans and they cannot get enough support in the Legislature.

      Back to issues- the Twin Cities is considered on of the most sprawling major metropolitan areas in the country. Due to urban sprawl, This leads to conflict with new sewer systems, schools, and roads being built with a upper middle class constituency that despises taxes.

      The Metropolitan Council is in place to work on these issues.  For the Southern Metro, at the federal level, transportation funding, including commuter rail, rapid bus transit, and general road construction issues dominate.
      As I wrote earlier, due to river crossings, north/south roads, are limited from the South Metro to Minneapolis/ St Paul.

      There are some very large construction projects to be worked on in the Southern Metro this summer including a multi- week closing of I-35E where it connects to I-35W in Burnsville.

      There is a case to be made that John Kline has limited tax money coming back in to his district, while it gets spent in other states.

      Minnesota gets fewer federal dollars back then it pays.
      Unlike southern states like Alabama and Mississippi.

      The chambers of commerce tend to be very active in the South Metro. They put a god deal of pressure on local politicians to "keep taxes low" and to "reduce spending".

      Due to lack of in depth media coverage, residents do not get a lot of information about what their congressperson is doing (or not doing in Washington.

      Another important issue is that the MSP airport has expanded in recent years. Many of the air traffic occurs  over the 2nd district.
      Noise issues are continuing source of controversy with federal funding for noise abatement programs for houses.

      Another issue, there are some major resources in the district with regards to standard of living. The Minnesota River and Mississippi Rivers converge in the 2nd District.

      Cities like Burnsville have neglected this resource by allowing large gravel pits and dumps to be built next to the river. The 20 year city plan turns these into parks and golf courses along the river with trails linking the rest of the city.

      The Minnesota River frequently floods and polution and runoff is a major concern.

      Also- there is great fear in the 2nd district of the Asian Carp spreading via the Mississippi. These jumping carp will decrease the native fish population.

      Trails, many of the cities like Apple Valley, Lakeville, and Eagan have wide paved bike trails along it's main roads.
      The county is working a master plan to connect most parts of the county with bike trails. Once completed there will be a 40 mile trail connecting Burnsville and Minnesota River to Hastings along the Mississippi River. Many of these segments are either completed or under construction. Many other "bike"corridors are being planned. However, many areas of the county are 20 years behind the rest of the Twin Cities Metro.

  •  I believe the district to be (0+ / 0-)

    overall fiscally conservative, but more liberal on social issues. There are some deep tea party roots here, but I believe the constitutional amendment enshrining discrimination on gay marriage failed by a slim amount in this district. Although , like any area there can be very socially conservative areas.

    My State Senator, Dan Hall is a pastor and flaming anti gay zealot. He tweets morality lessons daily from his Senate Twitter account

    As of the 2012 election, there were MANY new Democrats elected in this congressional district. Most races were close.

    Right now there is a mix of Democratic and Republican State Representatives and Senators from the area. Probably half and half.

  •  Grumpy Granpa-vs-Successful Businesswoman or Pizza (0+ / 0-)

    I am not a resident of MN-02, however I have written about Minnesota politicians at minnesotacentral.blogspot.com and mnpoliticalroundtable.com ... and Chairman Kline has been a frequent source of commentary.

    IMO, for the country to improve, certain legislators must be defeated.  Chairman Kline controls the Education and Labor legislation.  He opposed the Safe Students Act when George Miller was Chairman (but it died in the Senate) and since becoming Chairman has refused to bring forward the bill.
    His major task should have been to reform NoChildLeftBehind, but even his Successful Student Act was called "bad for students, bad for taxpayers" by the US Chamber of Commerce.
    Last week, we commemorated the Massey mining disaster ... and he has denied movement on legislation to improve mine safety and with the sequester, the monies to inspect/prosecute are being reduced.
    In short, the Chairman has done nothing for education or labor but has been receptive to for-profit, charter schools and business interests.

    That said, does the Second District care about those issues ?

    Chairman Kline has a proven successful strategy for elections … sending Franked mail to supporters throughout the year, hold a few TeleTown Hall meetings with friendly callers, walk in a few parades, and refuse to debate or participate in forums.  FarmFest is a big event, and the 2nd District has a significant farm base, yet he never shows up for the forum even though virtually every other politician is there.  As mentioned by the previous commentator, Chairman Kline has limited himself to a half-hour MPR joint interview with his challenger for the last two elections. His rant is the same … Washington is spending too much.

    Last cycle, the DFL’s candidate was Mike Obermueller who introduced himself to the public in a television commercial called  "Washington Pizza" amazingly Mike never said in the commercial that he was running for Congress ... much less that he was running in the Second District … nor that he was a Democrat.  IF you did not know, you may have thought he was an Independent.  The odd thing is that the company that produced the “Washington Pizza” commercial, also did one for a candidate in Georgia using the “empty lectern” to complain about the lack of debates -- that’s the message that should have been used to contrast himself with Chairman Kline and to begin to engage voters on Chairman Kline's performance … a little "Educating the voters" campaign was needed.

    How bad did they fail ? Well, consider this :
    Obama won the District with 184,801 votes
    Klobuchar won the District with 226,099
    DFL won the MN Senate Districts with 186,418
    DFL barely lost the MN House Districts by 802 votes but still tallied 172,104
    There were 200,763 NO votes on the Marriage Amendment and 182,350 NO votes on the Voter ID.
    Thus, isn't it reasonable to anticipate that at least 172,104 voters would support a DFL candidate for Congress (if not 182,350) ... yet Mike Obermueller only got 164,335 ... meaning that the ticket-splitters went for Chairman Kline.
    Now, consider that 18,906 people voted in the Presidential election but failed to cast a vote in the Second District contest and tells us that the "education" failed ... let's just say, the No Voter Left Behind program got a failing grade.

    The district should have been more competitive ... it was either badly mismanaged or ignored ... the end result is two more years of Chairman Kline.

    Already, there are three campaigns underway to challenge Chairman Kline -- one from David Garson, who has stated that he will again challenge him in the GOP primary.  And Mike Obermueller has also announced that he wants another shot.
    But the big news is that Sona Mehring has announced her candidacy.  Sona is a successful businesswoman who has been instrumental in a number of private businesses and was the founder of Caring Bridge.  
    A Mehring-Kline contest could be most interesting as Sona has already gotten support from other businesswomen. Heck, in a press release, she is already challenging him to support same-sex marriage ... something that will never happen since Chairman Kline was still pushing to repeal DADT just last term

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