WASHINGTON – John Kline was one of just 85 House Republicans to vote Tuesday night in favor of the bill that will raise taxes on Americans making more than $400,000, and he’s taking heat from some conservatives for doing so.
“Rep. Kline’s vote is inexplicable and disappointing. Raising taxes on job creators into the teeth of this recession is a recipe for higher unemployment. This vote is sad, and may engender a primary challenge in 2014 — and Rep. Kline will have nobody to blame but himself,” said Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government, in a statement.
Andy Parrish, who used to work for Michele Bachmann, wrote on Twitter last night, “Can we recall the GOP endorsement of @repjohnkline”.
Still, both threats to Kline need context. Americans for Limited Government appears to have spent no money during the 2012 campaign and spent just $33,000 opposing Republicans during the 2010 campaign, according the Center for Responsive Politics. The group did not spend money in other elections.
While Republican office holders treat the threat of a primary opponent seriously, Kline has a very conservative voting record with a nearly 94 percent conservative rating from the American Conservative Union.
Kline already has more than $500,000 in the bank to fend off challengers along with the ability to raise much more. Further, Kline’s district became more friendly to Democrats after redistricting in 2012 (President Obama won the district by a narrow margin) so a more conservative Republican might struggle to hold the seat in the GOP’s hands.