Mahamoud Wardere will challenge Rep. John Kline in District 2

Rep. John Kline, R-Minn.
Rep. John Kline, R-Minn.

Mahamoud Wardere, a Somali immigrant who spent six years working as a community liaison for former GOP Sen. Norm Coleman, says he's running as a Republican to unseat incumbent Rep. John Kline in the state's second congressional district.

"Can you imagine?" he told the Fairibault Daily News. "An anti-war GOP candidate who is an immigrant from Somalia, an African-American, too, and Muslim."

Well, since he brought it up, it does sound like an interesting challenge. According to the latest Census figures, Kline's district -- encompassing the southern side of the Twin Cities suburbs, including Watertown in the west, Cottage Grove in the east and Faribault in the south -- is about 93 percent white and 4.2 percent foreign born. Kline, a Marine Corps veteran, was a strong supporter of former President George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq, and has trumpeted Christian values in the House. He first won election in 2002.

Wardere found himself in hot water last Election Day when, while volunteering as a translator at a Minneapolis polling station, he was accused of telling Somalis to vote for Coleman.

Besides the challenge from within his own party, two DFLers, Dan Powers and Shelley Madore, are also competing for the seat.

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