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The Capitol Note: Rep. John Kline holds huge fundraising lead in CD 2

Mike Mullen//January 27, 2014

The Capitol Note: Rep. John Kline holds huge fundraising lead in CD 2

Mike Mullen//January 27, 2014

U.S. Rep. John Kline has about eight times as much cash on hand as his DFL opponent. (Staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher.)
U.S. Rep. John Kline has about eight times as much cash on hand as his DFL opponent. (Staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher.)

1.) Republican U.S. Rep. John Kline has continued his fundraising dominance over Democratic opponent Mike Obermueller, according to the Star Tribune, which highlights Kline’s 3-to-1 fundraising lead over the former DFL legislator. Kline raised $450,000 during the last quarter of 2013, and entered this year with $1.6 million in cash on hand. Obermueller raised about $132,000 during the same time period; his deficit in cash on hand is even worse, with just $203,000 available to spend heading into the election year. Obermueller has essentially been running for the seat since he lost the 2012 election against the GOP incumbent, and his failure to win over liberal donors will be a disappointment to national Democrats, who consider Kline’s one of the few House districts where the party could gain a Republican seat.

2.) Republican U.S. Senate candidate Chris Dahlberg announced that he plans to seek and abide by the party endorsement, clearing up an earlier ambiguity in his campaign. In a statement explaining his position, Dahlberg said he had a deep understanding of the sanctity of the endorsement process, having first been elected as a party delegate in 1980.  “I still see the importance of respecting that process, and that’s why I am pledging to abide by the party’s endorsement,” Dahlberg said. The St. Louis County Board member’s decision could be a practical acknowledgement of the state of his finances: Though GOP candidate Mike McFadden has yet to catch on with GOP activists, his $1.7 million cash on hand towers over the totals raised by other Republicans in that race. Other candidates would likely need to seal the party endorsement to combat McFadden’s enormous resource advantage.

3.) Sen. Karin Housley, R-St. Marys Point, has acknowledged that she is considering a gubernatorial bid, and a new op-ed piece she authored for the Pioneer Press will do little to dispel chatter along those lines. In her column, Housley draws attention to her recent call for Gov. Mark Dayton to call a special session to address problems with MNsure, arguing the state-run health insurance exchange needs immediate and forceful action. Housley’s op-ed calls out five different examples of “FAIL,” including low enrollment figures and extended call center wait times, before reiterating her position that the matter should inspire a special session in the month before the regularly scheduled session is scheduled to begin. “The Legislature and Gov. Dayton created this mess,” Housley writes, “so it’s up to the Legislature and Gov. Dayton to fix it.”


  • Minnesota civil rights leader Matthew Little has died at age 93, the Star Tribune reports. Little chaired the state chapter of the NAACP, and led the state’s delegation in the historic March on Washington protest in 1963; locally, he advocated for fair housing options and desegregation of Minneapolis public schools.
  • Republican Dean Henke has announced a bid to run in House District 34B, which is currently represented by gubernatorial candidate and former House GOP leader Rep. Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove. Henke works as a a financial analyst and has spent the past decade as a member of the Osseo School Board, according to a press release reprinted by a local Patch site; the release makes no mention of Zellers — or of Henke’s partisan affiliation.
  • The single-issue anti-hunt group Howling For Wolves has retained Cap O’Rourke to lobby on its behalf. It is the first lobbying client for O’Rourke, who spent a dozen years working as a staffer in the Senate; he becomes that organization’s fourth lobbyist on retainer.
  • House District 49A candidate Dario Anselmo registered his candidacy with the campaign finance board last week. Anselmo, a Republican who formerly owned the Fine Line Music Cafe, has enlisted Heather Hansen as his campaign manager. Hansen is an Edina real estate agent who ran unsuccessfully for the Hopkins School Board last year. Anselmo is one of two Republican challengers currently eying the seat held by Rep. Ron Erhardt, DFL-Edina; also in the race is attorney and former GOP endorsement candidate Polly Peterson Bowles.
  • Stephen Schreiber has registered to lobby on behalf of both American Public Media and Minnesota Public Radio Inc. Schreiber has been on staff with the public radio conglomerate’s government relations team for a little over a year, and previously worked in communications for Minnesotans United for All Families.
  • New Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges will be the guest of DFL U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison at Tuesday’s State of the Union address. Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen has selected Vednita Carter, who runs the local anti-sex trafficking nonprofit Breaking Free, to be his guest, KSTP reports.

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