WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack's family is moving from Minnesota to New Hampshire so Cravaack's two children will be closer to their mother's job.

Cravaack and his family are leaving their Lindstrom home, and he is buying a new house in North Branch, spokesman Ben Golnik said Saturday.

Cravaack's move comes as he faces a tough reelection race in the Eighth District. Three DFLers -- former state Sen. Tarryl Clark, Duluth City Councilman Jeff Anderson and former Rep. Rick Nolan -- have announced that they will run against the freshman Republican.

The family move is likely to provide fodder for opponents in the 2012 campaign. Cravaack criticized Rep. Jim Oberstar in 2010 for being out of touch with his district, and the Minnesota GOP Party called Clark -- who lost to U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in 2010 in the Sixth District -- a "carpetbagger" because she moved from St. Cloud to Duluth in order to be in the Eighth District and to run against Cravaack.

Golnik said Cravaack will maintain his congressional schedule in Minnesota, spending Saturdays and his district work time in the state. Cravaack will travel to New Hampshire to see his family on his Sunday off-days, Golnik said.

"He's committed to keeping up the same pace," Golnik said.

Cravaack's family is moving because his wife, Traci, works as an executive at a medical company that involved frequent travel to Boston. She got a promotion, Golnik said, and will now be based in Boston.

Cravaack, 52, had been a retired Northwest Airlines pilot and stay-at-home dad before he came to Congress, but this year he and his wife both have often been out of Minnesota during the week. Cravaack said in an interview with the Star Tribune last month that juggling his and his wife's travel schedules with taking care of their two preteen sons has been one of the toughest things for him since coming to Washington.

Jeremy Herb • 202-408-2723 Twitter: @StribHerb