Reports: Mary Pawlenty might run for Kline's congressional seat

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It's not too soon to speculate about next year's election for Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District, now that incumbent Republican John Kline has announced he's not going to run again.

That leaves a wide-open race in the southern Minnesota district, which had been reliably Republican but now it considered more of a swing district.

The Associated Press reports Saturday that former Minnesota first lady Mary Pawlenty is considering a run, quoting an unnamed source.

Pawlenty is the wife of former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and also served as a judge in Dakota County. She lives in Eagan.

WCCO tweeted that it has confirmed Pawlenty's potential interest in the race.

The source told AP that Pawlenty doesn't have a timetable in mind for deciding.

If she did run, Pawlenty would have strong name recognition and could potentially have a head start in attracting donors who had previously supported her husband in his campaigns for governor and president, the Associated Press notes.

Who else might run?

State Sen. Dave Thompson of Lakeville was considered likely to run. He told the Star Tribune he has not decided whether to throw his hat into the ring.

David Gerson, a Tea Party Republican who challenged Kline in the last two elections, has already said he's planning to run again, according to the Star Tribune.

Other potential candidates include: Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa; Rep. Tony Albright, R-Prior Lake; Dakota County Commissioner and former legislator Mary Liz Holberg; and Sen. Eric Pratt, R-Prior Lake.

While Kline has handily won re-election over the past seven terms, the 2nd district went for President Obama in 2012 and Democrats believe they have a strong shot at winning the seat.

Two Democrats announced their campaigns earlier this year: Mary Lawrence, a Minneapolis doctor, and Angie Craig, a St. Jude’s Medical executive.

According to the Star Tribune, two DFL lawmakers are also potential candidates: Rep. Joe Atkins of Inver Grove Heights and Rep. Rick Hansen of South St. Paul.

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