A 59-year-old Democratic congressional candidate is pushing to become the first trans woman from Minnesota to serve as a federal lawmaker.


According to Roll Call, Paula Overby has filed the required paperwork to enter the Democratic primary field in hopes of unseating Rep. John Kline (R-MN). Kline was elected to his sixth term in 2012 by 8 percentage points in a district evenly split between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Overby will challenge former state Rep. Mike Obermueller (D), who narrowly lost to Kline, and upstart candidate Thomas Craft. She told the St. Paul Pioneer-Press in an interview published August 11 that, while her gender identity might be controversial for some voters, it might get others out to the polls.

"There is a significant level of prejudice that exists against transgendered people," Overby said to the Pioneer-Press. "Some people will see this as a mark of enormous courage. There are other people who won't vote for me because of it."

While Kline did not address Overby's campaign directly, his campaign did note it in an email to the Pioneer-Press as a way to position himself against Obermueller, pointing out that Overby worked for his campaign on a volunteer basis.

"Paula Overby becomes the second former Obermueller campaign volunteer this summer to line up and challenge him for DFL endorsement, which begs the question: Why are Obermueller's own supporters and close friends bailing on his candidacy and campaigning against him?" a campaign spokesperson wrote to the Pioneer-Press.

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