Minnesota's 8th Congressional District elections, 2014
November 4, 2014
August 12, 2014
Cook Political Report: Toss Up
Minnesota's 8th Congressional District is a battleground district in 2014. Cook's Partisan Voting Index (PVI) rates Minnesota's 8th as a D+1, or a barely Democratic district. FairVote rates the district as a toss up. Although Democratic incumbent Rick Nolan won in 2012 with an 8.9 percent margin of victory, and the district voted for Democratic President Barack Obama in 2012 with a 5.5 percent margin of victory, Nolan was first elected in 2012, and representatives serving their first term are often more vulnerable than those who have been in office for many years. Moreover, Minnesota's 8th district was re-drawn in 2011, which could have altered the ratio of Democrats to Republicans in the district.
With neither of the major party candidates facing challengers in the August 12 primary election, both have been able to focus exclusively on the November general election. As of the April Quarterly FEC reports, Nolan held a slight advantage over Mills in terms of campaign finances, but both had been fundraising and spending substantial amounts of money on the race.
Mills is an outspoken advocate for gun rights, and has made fighting against gun control one of the central themes of his campaign. He has also received media attention for his unconventional long hair, which some view as attractive and others say makes him appear unprofessional. Though Mills explained that he had been trying to focus on more serious issues, his appearance won him acclaim as the "Brad Pitt of the Republican Party."
|Candidate Filing Deadline||Primary Election||General Election|
Voter registration: To vote in the primary, voters needed to register on election day, or pre-register by July 22, 2014. For the general election, the voter registration deadline is October 14, 2014 (21 days days prior to the election).
- See also: Minnesota elections, 2014
Incumbent: Heading into the election the incumbent is Rick Nolan (D), who was first elected in 2012.
The 8th District covers the northeastern part of Minnesota. It includes Koochiching, Itasca, Hubbard, St. Louis, Cook, Lake, Carlton, Pine, Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Kanabec, Benton, Pine and Chisago counties.
General election candidates
August 12, 2014, primary results
Failed to file
The 2012 election race in Minnesota's 8th Congressional District was a close race, with challenger Rick Nolan securing election by a 8.9% margin of victory. The district was considered a toss-up with Fairvote indicating that as a result of redistricting, the district had gone from a even balance between Democrats and Republicans to a 2% edge in favor of the Democrats. Rick Nolan was out spent by incumbent Chip Cravaack, who spent $2,385,666 compared to Nolan's $1,194,314.
The National Republican Congressional Committee added Stewart Mills (R) to their "On the Radar" list. According to the NRCC, candidates that make this list receive "...the tools they need to run successful, winning campaigns against their Democratic opponents."
Comments on ISIS
- See also: ISIS insurgency in Iraq and Syria
Unlike many U.S. congressmen from both parties, Rep. Rick Nolan (D) warned against taking military action against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Nolan urged President Barack Obama not to make a unilateral decision to mobilize the military without the consent of Congress. On August 29, 2014, Nolan stated, "American blood and treasury should not be made without the full consideration by all 535 members of the Congress of the United States." He added, "When we get ourselves involved in that conflict, then we become a part of the problem and the solution becomes ours."
Shortly after making these comments, Nolan issued a statement regarding ISIS. Nolan wrote, "I encourage them to employ the same intelligence resources – and the same selective, highly effective means they used to bring down Osama Bin Laden. Special operations of this kind do not involve U.S. troops on the ground, the killing of innocent people, or the re-involvement of the United States in another terribly destructive, expensive, open-ended conflict in that region.”
Nolan's Republican challenger in the general election, Stewart Mills, disagreed with Nolan, stating, "Like it or not we have to play some role here. And for Congressman Nolan to take those positions, I think, leaves America in an even weaker position than we have been in the past. We can't lead from behind. We have to lead."
According to a poll published in The Washington Post, the majority of voters' views align closer with Mills than Nolan on the issue of taking action in the Middle East. About 91 percent of voters believed ISIS to be a serious threat, and 71 percent supported the U.S. government ordering air strikes against the Sunni insurgents in Iraq.
Stewart Mills has received the following endorsements:
- Sixteen Minnesota state legislators, including Kurt Daudt, Michelle Benson, Sean Nienow and Carrie Ruud
- The Minnesota Gun Owners PAC
- Minnesota's 8th Congressional District Republicans
|Rick Nolan (2014) Campaign Finance Reports|
|Report||Date Filed||Beginning Balance||Total Contributions|
for Reporting Period
|Expenditures||Cash on Hand|
|April Quarterly||April 26, 2013||$26,207.62||$120,703.67||$(27,972.83)||$118,938.46|
|July Quarterly||July 15, 2013||$118,938.00||$134,764.34||$(59,126.31)||$194,576.03|
|October Quarterly||October 15, 2013||$194,576.49||$129,472.26||$(62,989.02)||$261,059.73|
|Year-End Quarterly||December 31, 2013||$261,059||$143,147||$(94,514)||$298,061|
|April Quarterly||April 15, 2014||$315,001.22||$265,772.54||$(102,557.79)||$478,215.97|
|Stewart Mills (2014) Campaign Finance Reports|
|Report||Date Filed||Beginning Balance||Total Contributions|
for Reporting Period
|Expenditures||Cash on Hand|
|October Quarterly||October 15, 2013||$0||$243,826.30||$(9,383.77)||$234,442.53|
|Year-End||January 31, 2014||$234,442.53||$205,263.98||$(133,416.76)||$306,289.75|
|April Quarterly||April 15, 2014||$306,289.75||$211,694.14||$(162,245.00)||$355,738.89|
- Stewart Mills released his first television ad in May 2014, discussing his history with Mills Fleet Farm and how his experience has affected his views on Obamacare.
- In a June 2014 campaign ad, Mills' wife praises him for his community involvement, including the "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" event to raise money for victims of domestic violence.
- In July 2014, the House Majority PAC released an ad attacking Mills for arguing against raising the minimum wage and wanting tax breaks for the wealthy. This ad was taken off of two television stations after complaints that it was misleading due to a spliced video clip of Mills. In the video, Mills is quoted as saying, "Folks saying that 'the wealthy, the wealthy are not paying their fair share, the 2 percent, the 1 percent, whatever percent you want, is personally offensive," when in reality he had said, "To be singled out as a deadbeat is personally offensive." However, the PAC and their supporters shot back by accusing the stations of taking the ad down for political reasons. Stanley Hubbard, the owner of both stations, is a Republican and a supporter of the Koch brothers.
|Candidate ballot accecss|
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|U.S. House, Minnesota District 8 General Election, 2012|
|Republican||Chip Cravaack Incumbent||45.4%||160,520|
|Source: Minnesota Secretary of State, "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"|
On November 2, 2010, Chip Cravaack (R) won election to the United States House. He defeated James L. Obestar (D), Timothy Olson (Independence) and Richard "George" Burton (Constitution) in the general election.
- United States House of Representatives elections in Minnesota, 2014
- United States House of Representatives elections, 2014
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- FairVote's Monopoly Politics, "2014 House Projections," accessed August 25, 2014
- Sabato's Crystal Ball, "2014 House Races," accessed August 25, 2014
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- National Conference of State Legislatures Website, "State Primary Election Types," accessed January 6, 2014
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- , "2011 Redistricting and 2012 Elections in Minnesota," March 2013
- Open Secrets "2012 Race: Minnesota District 08" accessed March 2013
- NRCC "Patriot Program 2012"
- DCCC, "Red to Blue 2012"
- Roll Call, "House Republicans Put 36 Recruits ‘On the Radar’" accessed November 21, 2013
- NRCC Young Guns, "List," accessed March 20, 2014
- Northland News Center, "Rick Nolan urges President Obama to resist military involvement in Syria," accessed September 12, 2014
- Slate, "The ISIS-Bedwetter Watch Continues," accessed September 12, 2014
- Minnesota Public Radio News, "Strategy against Islamic State could play big in 8th District," accessed September 12, 2014
- The Washington Post, "Wide support for striking ISIS, but weak approval for Obama," accessed September 12, 2014
- Politics in Minnesota, "Stewart Mills announces GOP endorsements for CD 8 bid," accessed November 23, 2013
- Stewart Mills for Congress, "Stewart Mills Announces the Endorsements of 16 Minnesota State Legislators," accessed May 24, 2014
- Minnesota Gun Owners Political Action Committee, "Press Release: MN Gun Owners PAC endorses Stewart Mills for Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District," accessed May 24, 2014
- Brainerd Dispatch, "Stewart Mills endorsed for Congress by 8th District GOP," accessed May 24, 2014
- Federal Election Commission, "Nolan 2014 Summary reports," accessed July 18, 2013
- FEC, "April Quarterly," accessed July 18, 2013
- FEC, "July Quarterly," accessed July 18, 2013
- FEC, "October Quarterly," accessed October 23, 2013
- FEC, "Year-End Quarterly," accessed February 11, 2014
- FEC, "April Quarterly," accessed May 16, 2014
- Federal Election Commission, "Stewart Mills Summary Report," accessed April 23, 2014
- Federal Election Commission, "Stewart Mills October Quarterly," accessed March 19, 2014
- Federal Election Commission, "Stewart Mills Year-End," accessed March 19, 2014
- Federal Election Commission, "Stewart Mills April Quarterly," accessed April 23, 2014
- YouTube, "In Her Shoes," accessed June 30, 2014
- YouTube, "MN-08: Stewart Mills - 'Personally Offensive.'," accessed July 31, 2014
- National Journal, "Democratic PAC Sees Koch Influence Behind Scuttled TV Ads," accessed July 31, 2014
- U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013