Powers will challenge Kline for House seat


Dan Powers will seek the DFL endorsement to take on U.S. Rep John Kline in the Second Congressional District. The construction contractor and Burnsville resident argues that the four-term Republican incumbent is out of touch with his constituents.

“Honestly there is a job that needs to be done that’s not getting done now,” Powers tells the Minnesota Independent. “I’m in a position where construction is pretty slow, I like politics and I honestly think I can get the job done.”

The Democrat believes that Kline has not served the residents of his suburban district well by unrealistically insisting that the country’s beleaguered health-care system be rebuilt from scratch. “You have to work with what you have,” he says. “I think that’s what most people are frustrated about.”

Powers also cites energy costs – and the need for more renewable sources of energy – as a primary issue motivating him to run. “It’s actually a national security issue,” he says. “We have to solve our energy problem.”

Few political observers expect Kline to be in much danger of losing re-election. Neither the Cook Political Report nor the Rothenberg Political Report include the second district race on their lists of competitive House races. In each of the last three election cycles, Kline has defeated his opponents by at least 14 percentage points. Last year he knocked of DFL challenger Steve Sarvi by a 57-43 percent margin.

But Powers argues that Kline is more politically vulnerable than at any other time since first being elected in 2002. He notes that a majority of the state legislative seats in the district are now controlled by Democrats.

Powers flirted with a run against Kline in 2008. But he dropped out of the contest early on after realizing that he wouldn’t be able to raise enough money to be competitive. This election cycle he hopes to prove himself a credible challenger by building up a significant campaign war chest in the coming months.

“The most important thing is just flat out raising the money,” he says. “Nobody’s going to take me seriously, or any other candidate seriously, if you can’t put some solid numbers behind the campaign.”