Published: Sat, February 10, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

MN Rep. Nolan says he won't seek re-election to Congress

MN Rep. Nolan says he won't seek re-election to Congress

I am very seriously considering another run for U.S. Congress to represent Minnesota's 8th District. Instead, the state's 8th Congressional District - which Trump won by more than 16 percentage points, after Barack Obama carried it twice before - will be the rare potential pickup for Republicans in November.

Nolan, a moderate Democrat with deep ties to the state's labour-minded Iron Range, also faced increasing pressure from environmentally minded Democrats trying to block new mining projects in the region.

"Fortunately, we are blessed to have a number of highly qualified people who have demonstrated the ability to win tough elections and govern effectively", he said. "Make no mistake - I love my work representing you in the Congress, and the decision to leave is agonizing to say the least - especially when thinking of all the many volunteers, contributors, party leaders, colleagues, supporters - and of course the voters - who have all meant so much to our success". The district is historically Democratic, but it is slowly becoming more Republican leaning, as Kyle Kondik, an elections expert at the University of Virginia, explained.

Outside political groups spent almost $30 million on the race in 2014 and 2016, making it among the most expensive districts in the country. Nolan won against GOP challenger Stewart Mills by only 2,009 votes in 2016.

Republicans in Minnesota and Washington immediately signalled the now open seat would be a top priority.

He had announced on his Facebook page last summer that he had decided against mounting a bid for governor in 2018 and would seek reelection to Congress.

He was expected to face both a hard-fought primary and a competitive general election campaign if he stuck around.

Other Democrats are likely to enter the race.

Current Republican frontrunner Pete Stauber, the St. Louis County commissioner and former Duluth police officer, said he wished Nolan well during the final months of his term and offered to help Nolan with any mutually agreed-upon issues.

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