The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Bill Maher announced he’s targeting Rep. John Kline. He picked the wrong guy.

Comedian Bill Maher announced Friday night that he will personally target Republican Rep. John Kline (Minn.) for defeat in the November election -- the culmination of his longstanding "Flip a District" contest in which the HBO host allowed his viewers to pick which Republican he would attempt to unseat.

The final four were Kline and Reps. Blake Farenthold (R-Tex.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) and Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.). Maher made the announcement Friday from his show in Washington, D.C.

Maher in 2012 donated $1 million to the super PAC devoted to reelecting President Obama, so it's clear he puts his money where his mouth is. But in targeting Kline, that money is probably going to be poorly spent.

That's because Kline, quite simply, isn't a Democratic target.

Yes, he comes from a swingy suburban district in the Twin Cities suburbs -- a district that went by the narrowest of margins for President Obama in 2012 and by slightly more in 2008. On its surface, it would seem ripe. But Kline has never taken less than 54 percent of the vote, including when he was an actual target in the 2012 election.

As it happens, Kline faces a rematch this year with the same guy he beat by eight points in 2012, former state Rep. Mike Obermueller ((D). Except Obermueller this time is dealing with a much less favorable environment. And the Cook Political Report, which has rated 29 Republican seats as being potentially in play in the 2014 election, doesn't even include Kline among the least-vulnerable on that list.

Said one Democratic strategist, granted anonymity to offer a candid take: "Sometimes money could be spent in a way that makes a difference or in a way that gets a headline. This is the latter."

Obermueller, for one, is celebrating the help.

"This news confirms what we've been hearing more and more of each day: folks in the 2nd district are tired of John Kline, and they’re ready to kick him out office," Obermueller said in a statement. "People are fired up and are organizing across the district to remove him from a seat he’s become too comfortable in."

Shortly after the announcement, Maher himself admitted he doesn't know much about Kline.

"I've never heard of John Kline, but he sounds like he might be Jewish," Maher joked.

Kline, for what it's worth, is not (the GOP said goodbye to its last Jewish member in Congress when Eric Cantor lost his primary and resigned). And if Maher and his viewers did a little more homework, they probably would have gone with Coffman, whose race Cook currently rates as a toss-up.

If Maher somehow pulled it off, it would be a true testament to the ability of one man to "flip a district." But don't hold your breath.

Updated at 10:58 p.m.