As Republican U.S. Rep. John Kline sorts out plans for his political future, two Democrats are gearing up to block him from returning to the House in 2014.
Sona Mehring, a political newcomer who founded the CaringBridge website, which connects the ailing with their loved ones, said Monday that she plans to run in Kline’s Second District. So does Mike Obermueller, a former state lawmaker who ran against Kline last year.
Although Kline has filed a re-election campaign, which allows the Republican to raise money for a 2014 run, he also has left open the possibility that he may run for U.S. Senate or governor next year. Kline spokesman Troy Young said, “Rather than engage in petty politics nearly two years before the 2014 election, Kline is focused on fighting for his constituents by trying to ensure a more effective and efficient government.”
In 2012 Kline won with 54 percent of the vote to Obermueller’s 46 percent. The relative closeness of that race and the fact that President Obama picked up a few hundred more votes in the district than Republican Mitt Romney gives Democrats hope they can take the seat in next year’s election.
Obermueller and Mehring’s first test will be against each other. Both are seeking the DFL endorsement.
Mehring said she recently resigned as CEO from CaringBridge, a networking site she founded in 1997, to prepare for her congressional run. “I think I really bring a unique combination of experience and skills,” Mehring said.
Obermueller said he likely will make a formal announcement of his candidacy this week. In his 2012 campaign, he said, “We showed that this is a seat that is very winnable.”
Rachel E. Stassen-Berger • Twitter: @rachelsb