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Tracking Minnesota’s political scene and keeping you up-to-date on those elected to serve you

Stewart Mills officially launches second campaign to unseat Rep. Rick Nolan

WASHINGTON -- Stewart Mills, a 43-year-old scion of Mills Fleet Farm enterprises, has officially launched another run to try and unseat Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan in the Eighth Congressional District.

Mills filed Federal Elections Commission paperwork six days ago and officially launched the campaign Tuesday morning.

In a statement emailed out to supporters and reporters, Mills seems to be reaching back to the same messages his campaign espoused two years ago in hopes of galvanizing support.

"Obamacare continues to hurt working class families, too many folks in the 8th District struggle with unemployment and our mining industries are suffering," he said, in the statement.

Mills points out he lost to Nolan by only 3,732 votes in one of Minnesota's closest elections in 2014. 

Mills likely faces more headwinds in a presidential year, with lower-propensity voters who usually lean Democratic turning out in higher numbers than in off-year, mid-term elections. 

Nolan's camp released a statement, welcoming Mills to the race.

"I'm looking forward to a positive campaign based on facts and issues affecting the voters in the 8th Congressional district -- a campaign very much different from the negative and misleading campaign Mr. Mills and his allies have already launched against me," the statement said.

Dayton meets with Essar Steel leadership after company misses state deadline

Gov. Mark Dayton met Monday morning with the chief executive officer of Essar Steel after the company missed an Oct. 1 deadline on a mill construction project and faces having to reimburse the state for $65.9 million in bonds. 

Dayton and Essar president and CEO Madhu Vuppuluri met at the Eveleth offices of the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board. Also present was the company's general counsel, Susan Fennessey, several other executives, and state lawmakers and other government officials from the area. 

Essar Steel is a subsidiary of Mumbai, India-based Essar Global. In 2007, the company promised to build a fully integrated iron ore-to-steel mill in Minnesota by Oct. 1 of this year. The state responded with $65.9 million in bonds and a $6 million line of credit. 

The company later killed its plan to build a steel mill, shifting to plans to build a taconite plant that is now nearly finished. Company officials told Dayton the new plant would begin production of taconite pellets by the end of 2016.

Dayton's spokesman said later Monday that company officials assured Dayton they intend by the end of this month to make current payments owed to suppliers on the Iron Range. In terms of the money owed the state, company officials told Dayton they would review the state's latest proposed repayment terms and respond within two weeks. 

Essar Steel spokesman Mitch Brunfelt called the meeting productive. The company has promised 350 permanent jobs as part of the taconite plant. 

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