Dem Rep. Rick Nolan Announces Retirement

Rick Nolan

Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan announced Friday he would skip another uphill climb to re-election and retire from his northeastern Minnesota congressional seat, leaving a wide-open race in a swing district that has attracted tens of millions of dollars in outside spending in recent elections.

In a statement, Friday, however, after listing his accomplishments, Nolan said, "there is a time and a objective for everything and now is the time for me to pass the baton to the next generation".

Nolan first entered Congress in 1974. "Our constitution is strong, our people are resilient, and the elections of 2018, 2020 and beyond provide continuing opportunities for progress, reform and necessary change".

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Nolan announced last summer that he would run for re-election in the Eighth Congressional District and not for Governor on the DFL ticket. 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. The GOP left us "flat footed and unable to mount a commensurate campaign", Mills wrote on Facebook.

The only declared Republican candidate is Peter Stauber, a former professional hockey player for the Detroit Red Wings, and a retired area commander of the Duluth Police Department.

Minnesota Public Radio News reporter Brian Bakst tweeted out Nolan's full statement and noted the 8th is one of the "most targeted districts" in the country.

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DFLer Leah Phifer has announced her candidacy and is seeking the party's endorsement. The former Federal Bureau of Investigation counterterrorism analyst has criticized Nolan for being too friendly to mining interests.

Also, following Al Franken's resignation, appointed senator Tina Smith (D) must face voters to secure the remaining years of Franken's term.

Outside political groups spent almost $30 million on the race in 2014 and 2016, making it among the most expensive districts in the country. "It's just a district that Republicans feel is ripe for the pickings and that Democrats feel they're going to absolutely have to defend to win the majority back", he said.

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