With an insider’s eye, Hot Dish tracks the tastiest bits of Minnesota’s political scene and keep you up-to-date on those elected to serve you.

Contributors in Minnesota: Patrick Condon, Baird Helgeson, Patricia Lopez, Jim Ragsdale, Abby Simons, Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Allison Sherry, Corey Mitchell and Jim Spencer.

Posts about 8th District

Democrats add Nolan to vulnerable incumbents list

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: July 21, 2014 - 9:37 AM

National Democrats are calling in reinforcements for U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan’s re-election campaign in the Eighth Congressional District.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has added Nolan to its Frontline program — a support system for House Democrats’ most vulnerable incumbents.

Nolan returned to Congress in 2013 after a 32-year hiatus, defeating a first-term GOP incumbent to win the seat representing northeastern Minnesota.

Republicans are looking to flip the seat once again, returning it to GOP control. Their candidate is Republican Stewart Mills III, a vice president in his family’s Fleet Farm retail chain.

Mills has raised outraised Nolan in three of the last four fundraising cycles, but Nolan still holds an overall cash-on-hand advantage.

Mills has reached the top level of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Young Guns” candidate training program. As challengers ascend the ranks, they’re more likely to receive financial and campaign aid from the NRCC, the campaign arm of House Republicans.

The Rothenberg Political Report and Cook Political Report rate Nolan as a slight favorite to win re-election.

As Election Day nears, outside groups are expected to step up their spending in the race. In 2012, party committees and political action committees invested nearly $10 million in the Eighth District race. This year, conservative groups have already spent more than $500,000 backing Mills’ campaign.

Nolan’s assignment to the Frontline program will pair him with a familiar face: Fellow Minnesota U.S. Rep. Tim Walz chairs the initiative. As part of the effort, Nolan’s campaign will have to ramp up its fundraising, volunteer recruitment and online networking.

High-ranking Republicans back Mills, Westrom

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: July 16, 2014 - 3:12 PM

The Republican challengers in Minnesota’s two most competitive congressional races are attracting more donations from high-ranking members of Congress.

During the months of April, May and June, Eighth Congressional District candidate Stewart Mills III attracted contributions from the leadership PACs of new House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp of Michigan, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa of California and Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, chair of the House Republican Conference.

In the state's Seventh District, state Sen. Torrey Westrom picked up donations from the PACs of Scalise, Camp, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton of Michigan and outgoing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia.

House Speaker John Boehner’s campaign committee also donated to the Mills and Westrom campaigns.

Westrom and Mills had the best fundraising stretches of their campaigns after the National Republican Congressional Committee promoted them to the top tier of its “Young Guns" program. The designation sends a signal to sitting members of Congress that the challengers are promising candidates.

The incumbents in the races, Democratic Reps. Rick Nolan in the Eighth and Collin Peterson in the Seventh, also had their best fundraising quarters of the election cycle and still hold cash-on-hand leads over their challengers.

Nolan maintains fundraising lead over Mills in Eighth District race

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: July 15, 2014 - 4:56 PM

Republican congressional candidate Stewart Mills III outraised Democratic incumbent Rep. Rick Nolan during the months of April, May and June, according to figures released from their campaigns.

Mills’ campaign raised more than $338,000 and Nolan brought in almost $284,000 during the latest fundraising quarter.

The totals marked the best fundraising periods of the election cycle for the Eighth Congressional District candidates. Mills campaign spokeswoman Chloe Rockow said the Fleet Farm vice president also loaned “around $100,000" to his campaign.

Despite being outraised by Mills during three of the last four fundraising quarters, Nolan still has a $148,000 cash-on-hand advantage.

Nolan has $577,000 banked for his re-election bid. Mills has raised $429,000 since entering the race in June 2013.

The National Republican Congressional Committee has named Mills to its "Young Guns" program for promising GOP candidates.

Political prognosticators expect the Nolan-Mills race to be among the most competitive in the nation. Outside groups have already spent $500,000 backing Mills' campaign, Federal Election Commission records show.

GOP Senate hopeful Mike McFadden, Sen. Al Franken parade around in the 8th CD

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: July 3, 2014 - 11:31 AM

WASHINGTON -- Democratic Sen. Al Franken and his GOP rival Mike McFadden are both decamped in the critical 8th Congressional District this holiday weekend riding Independence Day parade routes.

McFadden is fishing with four of his sons today on the Lake of the Woods in Baudette. On Friday, McFadden will walk in both the Delano and Walker Fourth of July parades and stop for lunch at the Old Creamery Cafe in Rice, where he will talk to voters "about what their frustration with Washington and what they're looking for in a U.S. Senator," campaign officials said.

Franken will walk parades in Aurora and Gilbert tonight and tomorrow will walk in the Eveleth, Tower, Ely and Biwabik parades, staffers said.

Both sides see the 8th CD as critical to a victory in November. It's known to be a swing district and subject to the whims of the national mood.

Democratic Sens. Al Franken, Amy Klobuchar to ride out with Obama on Air Force One Thursday

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: June 25, 2014 - 4:44 PM

WASHINGTON -- Democratic Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar will ride out with President Barack Obama Thursday to  Minneapolis and attend events with him both days, staffers confirmed Wednesday.

Both Franken and Klobuchar say they want to talk to the president on the plane about the recent flooding in Minnesota.

Klobuchar will speak at the Lake Harriet Bandshell Friday, where Obama is scheduled to make a speech on the economy.

Neither office was able to confirm attendance Tuesday because the Senate voting schedule was still in flux.

Other confirmed Democrats from the Congressional delegation attending at least some of the events with Obama: Rep. Rick Nolan, Rep. Tim Walz, Rep. Betty McCollum and Rep. Keith Ellison. Rep. Collin Peterson will not go to any of them.

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton was enthusiastic about the visit earlier in the week, telling the Strib: "I would be glad to appear with President Obama," he said. "I would want to appear with any president of any political party."

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