Congressional Quarterly, which rates the competitiveness of U.S. House and Senate races, has downgraded the strength of U.S. Rep. John Kline’s grip on his south metro seat in the Second Congressional District.
CQ still rates Kline, the republican incumbent, as the favorite to win a fourth term. But they have moved the race from a rating of “safe Republican” to “Republican favored.” That is an upgrade for CQ’s view of the chances that his Democratic challenger, former Watertown Mayor Steve Sarvi, will upset Kline. Note that CQ has still another category, “leans Republican,” before the race would be rated as having “no clear favorite.”
Here’s CQ’s discussion of its new rating in the race:
“Minnesota’s 2nd (New Rating: Republican Favored. Previous Rating: Safe Republican). Steve Sarvi is an Iraq War veteran and the former mayor of Watertown whose biography and experience make him a strong recruit for Democratic efforts to take over the 2nd District from three-term Rep. John Kline. CQ Politics is changing its rating on the race to Republican Favored from Safe Republican, indicating it is a race to watch. The DCCC has categorized the race similarly. It lists the 2nd District race as one of its 20 ‘Emerging Races,’ which means the party is keeping an eye on the race and will get involved if Sarvi meets certain criteria to prove the strength of his campaign. However, weak fundraising for Sarvi and overall demographics give Kline the advantage in holding the district, which covers the southern Twin Cities suburbs. Sarvi reported raising $262,000 and had $98,000 on hand by June 30 while Kline raised $1.1 million and had $647,000 on hand by the same date. Voters in Minnesota do not register by party, but results from the presidential race indicate Republicans hold the advantage in the 2nd — President Bush carried the district with 51 percent of the vote in 2000 and increased his take in 2004 to 54 percent of the vote. Kline easily defeated FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley 56 percent to 40 percent in 2006.”