ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Comedian and talk-show host Bill Maher is bringing his HBO show to Northfield Tuesday night to target 2nd District Republican Congressman John Kline.

“Real Time with Bill Maher” viewers selected Kline as the member of Congress they’d most like to replace, and the irreverant comedian and talk-show host described Kline as a “silent threat.”

Kline, a six-term republican, is chairman of the U.S. House Education Committee that Maher says is responsible for historic student debt. His Democratic opponent, Mike Obermueller, says Kline is disguising how conservative he really is.

“No one in this district is going to vote because they like Bill Maher or don’t like Bill Maher. They’re going to vote because they like or don’t like John Kline’s record and when they learn about it? They don’t like it,” Obermueller said.

Maher kept up the pressure this week, claiming – incorrectly — that Kline has not held a single campaign event.

“He has no appearances schedule. He has no plans to make an appearance. His whole strategy is to hide,” Maher said.

The Kline campaign declined to be interviewed, but released images of the candidate at dozens of campaign events and the following statement:

“It’s disappointing Obermueller wants to take this race into the gutter and campaign with Maher who compared Kline, a decorated Marine Corps veteran, to ‘ISIS’ and ‘Ebola’ and was previously fired by ABC for saluting 9/11 terrorists and calling our troops ‘cowardly’.”

Maher has not endorsed the Democrat, Obermueller or the Independence candidate in the race, Paula Overby. Even so, Obermueller’s campaign says donations spiked 700 percent after Maher said he was coming to Minnesota to flip the district.

Maher’s task won’t be easy, however. Kline won his seat by 29,000 votes in 2008 and even though the district is changing, he still has the edge.

Pat Kessler

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