Updated: 04/25/2014 10:33 PM
Created: 04/25/2014 5:29 PM WDIO.com
Republicans are blasting a Northland Congressman for a Duluth event that was scheduled to be held Friday evening but ultimately canceled.
Democrat Rick Nolan had been scheduled to hold a fundraiser at Bowery Brothers restaurant with 1960s folk singer Peter Yarrow, who had an improper relationship with a 14-year-old girl more than four decades ago. Nolan's campaign informed Eyewitness News Friday evening that the event, which was to be closed to the media, had been canceled due to a scheduling conflict.
Yarrow gained fame for songs like "Puff the Magic Dragon," and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," performing with the trio "Peter, Paul and Mary." However, the National Republican Congressional Committee is focusing on a different part of Yarrow's past in a new web ad. It slams Congressman Nolan for inviting Yarrow to be part of the event.
"Rick Nolan, putting sex offenders ahead of Minnesota families," the ad said. "Now our Congressman Rick Nolan is raising money with Yarrow, inviting him into our community."
In 1970, Yarrow admitted to taking indecent liberties with a teen girl. He was sentenced to three months in prison and was pardoned by President Jimmy Carter in 1981.
NRCC Spokesman Tyler Houlton said in a statement, "Rick Nolan should immediately cancel the fundraiser with a convicted child molester and apologize to his constituents. The fact that Rick Nolan even considered hosting an event with a child molester in the first place shows how wildly out of touch he is with Minnesota families."
A few hours before the fundraiser was scheduled to begin, Nolan told Eyewitness News that he wouldn't condemn someone for the rest of their life for a mistake made long ago.
Nolan said, "What he did some 40 years ago was wrong and it was terrible. You know, having said that, he has spent a lifetime redeeming himself doing a lot of good things for a lot of people, and I just happen to be one of those people who believes in forgiveness; believes in redemption."
We reached out Nolan's Republican challenger Stewart Mills for a comment. His campaign said "all of us expect better from Rick Nolan."
So far, Mills is the only candidate challenging Nolan in the Eighth District race, which will be on the ballot this fall.
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