Minnesota's 8th Congressional District elections, 2014

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Minnesota's 8th Congressional District

General Election Date
November 4, 2014

Primary Date
August 12, 2014

Incumbent prior to election:
Rick Nolan Democratic Party
Rick Nolan.jpg

Race Ratings
Cook Political Report: Toss Up[1]

FairVote's Monopoly Politics: Toss Up[2]
Sabato's Crystal Ball: Toss Up[3]

Minnesota U.S. House Elections
District 1District 2District 3District 4District 5District 6District 7District 8

2014 U.S. Senate Elections

Flag of Minnesota.png
The 8th Congressional District of Minnesota will hold an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 4, 2014.

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.[4] FairVote rates the district as a toss up.[5] 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.[6] 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."[7]

Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
June 3, 2014
August 12, 2014
November 4, 2014

Primary: Minnesota is one of 14 states that uses an open primary system, in which registered voters do not have to be members of a party to vote in that party's primary.[8][9][10]

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).[11]

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.[12]


General election candidates

August 12, 2014, primary results

Democratic Party Democratic Primary

Green Party Green Primary

Republican Party Republican Primary

Failed to file

Race background

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.[15] Rick Nolan was out spent by incumbent Chip Cravaack, who spent $2,385,666 compared to Nolan's $1,194,314.[16]

The district was targeted by both the National Republican Congressional Committee's Patriot Program[17] and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's "Red to Blue List."[18]

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."[19][20]

Campaign themes

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."[21] He added, "When we get ourselves involved in that conflict, then we become a part of the problem and the solution becomes ours."[21]

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.”[22]

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."[23]

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.[24]


Stewart Mills

Stewart Mills has received the following endorsements:

Campaign contributions

Rick Nolan

Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Nolan's reports.[29]

Rick Nolan (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[30]April 26, 2013$26,207.62$120,703.67$(27,972.83)$118,938.46
July Quarterly[31]July 15, 2013$118,938.00$134,764.34$(59,126.31)$194,576.03
October Quarterly[32]October 15, 2013$194,576.49$129,472.26$(62,989.02)$261,059.73
Year-End Quarterly[33]December 31, 2013$261,059$143,147$(94,514)$298,061
April Quarterly[34]April 15, 2014$315,001.22$265,772.54$(102,557.79)$478,215.97
Running totals

Stewart Mills

Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Mills' reports.[35]

Stewart Mills (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
October Quarterly[36]October 15, 2013$0$243,826.30$(9,383.77)$234,442.53
Year-End[37]January 31, 2014$234,442.53$205,263.98$(133,416.76)$306,289.75
April Quarterly[38]April 15, 2014$306,289.75$211,694.14$(162,245.00)$355,738.89
Running totals


Stewart Mills

  • 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.[39]
  • 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.[40] 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."[41] 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.[41]

Mills 2014 campaign ad

Mills ad featuring his wife

House Majority PAC ad attacking Mills

District history

Candidate ballot accecss
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Incumbent Chip Cravaack was defeated by Democratic challenger Rick Nolan in the general election on November 6, 2012.

U.S. House, Minnesota District 8 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngRick Nolan 54.3% 191,976
     Republican Chip Cravaack Incumbent 45.4% 160,520
     NA Write-in 0.3% 1,167
Total Votes 353,663
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.[42]

U.S. House, Minnesota District 8 General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngChip Cravaak 48.6% 133,490
     Democratic James L. Obestar 47% 129,091
     Independence Timothy Olson 4.3% 11,876
     Constitution Richard George 0% 132
Total Votes 274,589

See also

External links


  1. Cook Political Report, "2014 House Race Ratings for August 8, 2014," accessed August 25, 2014
  2. FairVote's Monopoly Politics, "2014 House Projections," accessed August 25, 2014
  3. Sabato's Crystal Ball, "2014 House Races," accessed August 25, 2014
  4. The Cook Political Report, "Partisan Voting Index, Districts of the 113th Congress," accessed May 24, 2014
  5. FairVote, "2014 Elections in Minnesota," accessed May 24, 2014
  6. CBS Minnesota, "YouTube Video: Hunting Rifles More Dangerous Than Semi-Automatics," accessed March 18, 2014
  7. Politico, "The Brad Pitt of the Republican Party," accessed June 27, 2014
  8. National Conference of State Legislatures Website, "State Primary Election Types," accessed January 6, 2014
  9. Fair Vote, "Congressional and Presidential Primaries: Open, Closed, Semi-Closed, and 'Top Two,'" accessed January 6, 2014
  10. Ballotpedia research conducted December 26, 2013 through January 3, 2014 researching and analyzing various state websites and codes.
  11. Minnesota Secretary of State Website, "How to Register," accessed January 3, 2014
  12. Minnesota Redistricting Map "Map" accessed August 30, 2012
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Minnesota Secretary of State, "2014 State General Election Candidate Filings," accessed June 11, 2014
  14. Minnesota Public Radio "Stewart Mills to run for 8th Dist. seat," accessed July 17, 2013
  15. , "2011 Redistricting and 2012 Elections in Minnesota," March 2013
  16. Open Secrets "2012 Race: Minnesota District 08" accessed March 2013
  17. NRCC "Patriot Program 2012"
  18. DCCC, "Red to Blue 2012"
  19. Roll Call, "House Republicans Put 36 Recruits ‘On the Radar’" accessed November 21, 2013
  20. NRCC Young Guns, "List," accessed March 20, 2014
  21. 21.0 21.1 Northland News Center, "Rick Nolan urges President Obama to resist military involvement in Syria," accessed September 12, 2014
  22. Slate, "The ISIS-Bedwetter Watch Continues," accessed September 12, 2014
  23. Minnesota Public Radio News, "Strategy against Islamic State could play big in 8th District," accessed September 12, 2014
  24. The Washington Post, "Wide support for striking ISIS, but weak approval for Obama," accessed September 12, 2014
  25. Politics in Minnesota, "Stewart Mills announces GOP endorsements for CD 8 bid," accessed November 23, 2013
  26. Stewart Mills for Congress, "Stewart Mills Announces the Endorsements of 16 Minnesota State Legislators," accessed May 24, 2014
  27. 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
  28. Brainerd Dispatch, "Stewart Mills endorsed for Congress by 8th District GOP," accessed May 24, 2014
  29. Federal Election Commission, "Nolan 2014 Summary reports," accessed July 18, 2013
  30. FEC, "April Quarterly," accessed July 18, 2013
  31. FEC, "July Quarterly," accessed July 18, 2013
  32. FEC, "October Quarterly," accessed October 23, 2013
  33. FEC, "Year-End Quarterly," accessed February 11, 2014
  34. FEC, "April Quarterly," accessed May 16, 2014
  35. Federal Election Commission, "Stewart Mills Summary Report," accessed April 23, 2014
  36. Federal Election Commission, "Stewart Mills October Quarterly," accessed March 19, 2014
  37. Federal Election Commission, "Stewart Mills Year-End," accessed March 19, 2014
  38. Federal Election Commission, "Stewart Mills April Quarterly," accessed April 23, 2014
  39. YouTube, "In Her Shoes," accessed June 30, 2014
  40. YouTube, "MN-08: Stewart Mills - 'Personally Offensive.'," accessed July 31, 2014
  41. 41.0 41.1 National Journal, "Democratic PAC Sees Koch Influence Behind Scuttled TV Ads," accessed July 31, 2014
  42. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013