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Battle for 8th District Seat Heats Up in Duluth

Updated: 06/07/2014 8:43 AM
Created: 06/06/2014 4:35 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

Duluth has become a political battleground this week for the 8th district congressional seat. Congressman Rick Nolan kicked off his re-election campaign in Duluth on Friday, and his competition is already hot on his trail.

A crowd of supporters rallied for Democrat Rick Nolan's campaign kickoff event at Leif Erickson Park Friday afternoon. Nolan started off the campaign with a shot the Republican contender Stewart Mills.

“He is, no mistake about it, a one percenter who is there to represent the 1 percent not the 99 percent,” Nolan said.

Mills is the vice president of Mills Fleet Farm Corporation, and he made a stop campaign stop in Duluth on Monday. He called out Nolan on unemployment in the 8th district.

“We have an 8 percent unemployment rate currently. Contrast that with a 4.5 percent unemployment rate statewide. We know we can do better,” Mills said.

However, Nolan touted law he's passed to create jobs in Duluth.

“One of them was of course the Cirrus small plan manufacturing legislation. It helped create a lot of good paying jobs and expanded an important, vital industry here in our region,” Nolan said.

Mills supports copper-nickel mining in the Northland, but said Democrats don't.

“The modern day DFL is at war with our way of life up here in our part of Minnesota. We understand, as Republicans, the need for responsible mining and timber industries, but also how to strengthen our main street economies,” Mills said.

Nolan said he supports projects like Polymet, and that project is environmentally sound.

“It offers a great hope for some really good-paying jobs over a couple hundred years on into the future. Good stuff; I'm fully supportive of it,” Nolan said.

However, the Green Party Challenger, Ray “Skip” Sandman, said no copper-nickel mining is safe.

“I'm not willing to gamble with the future generations' life and drinking water for a few hundred jobs so I definitely stand against that,” Sandman said.

He said solar and wind power industries can create alternative jobs at his campaign announcement on Friday.

The campaign and battle for the 8th congressional district will be fought over jobs, and the candidates have 5 months to win votes and get a paycheck of their own.

The Independence Party candidate for congress dropped out after the filing deadline so the secretary of state has extended the filing deadline for Independence Party candidates until June 10.

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