Minnesota’s second District

The GOP-leaning district will be home to an interesting midterm election next year.

by Joe Praska- University alumnus

Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District has proven to be a red stronghold in our consistently blue state, with Republican Congressman John Kline firmly holding on to the seat. The year 2012 provided the closest race Kline has seen since being elected in 2003, yet he still won handily against Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party challenger Mike Obermueller with more than 54 percent of the vote.

The 2014 midterm elections, however, have been shaping up to make the 2nd District an interesting race to watch. In addition to Obermueller looking for a rematch, CEO and founder of CaringBridge, Sona Mehring, has thrown in her hat as a DFL challenger to Kline. For those who don’t know, CaringBridge is a social network designed to help families, friends and communities stay connected during times of health crises.

Aside from founding and serving as the CEO of CaringBridge, Mehring has been recognized as one of the “Most Influential Women in Technology” by Fast Company, as well as one of 25 “Women Industry Leaders” in the Twin Cities by the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal. She does not have traditional political experience but has received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for her service to the community.

Mehring’s credentials and strong community investments promise to craft an interesting challenge to the incumbent. Kline is currently known as the most conservative member of the Minnesota delegation, scoring only 2.8 percent progressive on an assortment of issues in a third-party test. Kline has a solid résumé in Washington, albeit a strongly partisan one. In the House, he currently serves on the Armed Services Committee and chairs the Education and the Workforce Committee, however, he is also prominently remembered for his push to place former President Ronald Reagan on the $50 bill in 2005.

The 2014 elections will be important to watch for an array of reasons, and Minnesota will definitely receive some national attention for the rematch between Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and challenger Jim Graves. However, while most likely not garnering as much attention, the 2nd District race may turn out to be just as interesting.