Comedian Bill Maher is not on the ballot in Minnesota. He can’t even vote here. But he’s trying to oust Republican John Kline from his long-held second congressional district seat. That’s because activists in Kline’s district, presumably mostly Democrats, persuaded Maher to proclaim the congressman winner of the “Flip A District” contest.
A well-orchestrated social media campaign that included an airplane flying with a “flip a district” banner high over Dakota County apparently convinced Maher that there was enough enthusiasm among the ground troops to vote Kline out of office. Enthusiasm is important in Maher’s campaign because it has to make up for money.
In 2012 Maher reportedly donated a million dollars of his own money to re-elect President Obama. Maher is not spending that kind of money on the second congressional district race. Instead, he brought his HBO show “Real Time With Bill Maher” to Northfield to highlight Kline’s voting record — which Maher says does not represent this section of suburban and southern Minnesota that voted for President Obama in 2012.
Before taping the show, Maher walked through the Goodbye Blue Monday Coffee House, past a voter registration table and handed out autographs. The demonstrators outside the one-time vaudeville theater and the crowd in the venue clearly supported flipping the district and removing Kline.
During the taping of the show, former GOP Speaker of the Minnesota House Sviggum claimed that while Kline may not represent Hollywood, where Maher resides, he does represent this district. The audience booed loudly.
Maher’s conservative panelists were John Rouleau, executive director of the Minnesota Jobs Coalition; Katie Kieffer, Author of “Let Me Be Clear: Barack Obama’s War on Millennials, and One Woman’s Case for Hope,” and Steve Sviggum, former Speaker of the House, Minnesota Legislature.
The liberal panelists were Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone journalist; Ana Marie Cox, founding editor of the political blog Wonkette; and Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges.
The event was scheduled to be broadcast on HBO on October 17, 2014.
Video at top – Maher visits Northfield, and protesters who want to defeat Kline gather
Video below: The first seven minutes of the “Real Time With Bill Maher” episode taped in Northfield.
Video below that: full “Real Time With Bill Maher” episode.