U.S. Rep. John Kline is using HBO host and Hollywood liberal Bill Maher's campaign to oust him as a way to energize supporters and fight back against the comedian's TV stunt to "flip a district."
Kline, a Republican who is not seen as vulnerable in his midterm race against former Democratic state Rep. Mike Obermueller, called upon supporters to raise $100,000 for TV ads to dismantle Maher's efforts.
“As promised, Maher is turning his liberal guns on our districts and using his TV megaphone and million-dollar war chest to defeat me in November,” Kline emailed supporters, according to the Minneapolis StarTribune
“My opponent … is walking hand-in-hand with Maher and has practically named him his campaign manager, focusing on the #FlipADistrict campaign against me and doing whatever he can to pander to Maher and his extreme liberal friends.”
Viewers of Maher's "Real Time" program selected Kline's race for defeat, even as he is not vulnerable this time around, The Hill
Other candidates who were up as finalists for a viewer vote with Kline were Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, Blake Farenthold of Texas and Mike Coffman of Colorado, the StarTribune noted.
"He's one of those silent threats you never see coming ... Ebola. ISIS. John Kline," Maher spewed against Kline. "He embodies the sellouts that keep this town running."
Maher's executive producer defended Kline's selection, even as some called it an odd choice, the Daily Beast
“We weren’t going for the biggest clown in the House,” said Scott Carter.
Carter called Kline “kind of a bland individual. But we wanted to identify this issue of student debt as one the voters in his district know about and care about.”
Maher had chided Kline, who chairs the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, over student debt, calling him a "champion of for-profit colleges," the StarTribune noted.
While the TV comic and social critic popped off, some readers of the StarTribune pushed back on Maher's efforts.
"Ah Hollywood. Wonder if Maher even knows where MN is. This no doubt guarantees Kline a double digit victory," one poster to the StarTribune website noted of the liberal host's faux engagement.
Noted another poster sarcastically: "The entertainment wing of the democrat party hard at work in an election year."
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