U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber on Tuesday became the first Republican to win re-election in Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District in more than 70 years.
The freshman Republican will head to a second term next year after beating DFL candidate Quinn Nystrom, an affordable-insulin advocate who ran on a message focused on accessible healthcare.
Stauber was leading Nystrom by more than 15% of the vote when the race was called just before midnight.
“Humbled by the overwhelming support tonight and looking forward to two more years!” Stauber tweeted. “My pledge to you, my constituents, remains the same: you will always know where I stand, I have your back at every turn, and I will keep fighting relentlessly for our way of life.”
Stretching from the far north metro area to the Canadian border, the northeastern district includes Duluth and the union-heavy Iron Range, which has reliably backed Democrats for decades. But voters in the district supported Trump four years ago by nearly 16 percentage points and picked Stauber to represent the district two years later, beating his DFL opponent Joe Radinovich by 5% of the vote.
Stauber’s support for proposed copper-nickel mining projects in the district siphoned off some traditionally DFL labor support, winning endorsements from prominent unions like the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49 and the Teamsters Local 320.
Several unions, such as AFSCME, United Steelworkers Local 63 and Education Minnesota, endorsed Nystrom, a first-time congressional candidate.
The district was the only one in Minnesota to get visits from both presidential candidates, but Trump made the region a priority, holding rallies in Duluth and Bemidji.