Northland Congressional Races Could Play Major Role in Midterm Election

Taylor Holt
Updated: February 14, 2018 06:55 PM

2018 is going to be a big year for congressional elections with some big decisions for voters to make in both Minnesota and Wisconsin. With only 9 months to go, we're getting a clearer view of the candidates and what's at stake.

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"These are complicated times," said ABC's Political Director Rick Klein.

As the races heat up, he says it's creating some real and rare opportunities for Republicans.

"In both areas, you have a couple of Democratic senators that are very much going to be on the firing line for Republicans," said Klein. "You add to that the complicated factor in Minnesota - the fact that you will have two senators on the ballot with Al Franken's resignation."

In northeastern Minnesota, many eyes are on the 8th congressional district race.

"I think Rick Nolan's district the 8th district will become the focal point of Republicans efforts to retain control of the house," Klein added.

Congressman Nolan's retirement announcement leaves Democrats Kirsten Kennedy and Leah Phifer, Republican Pete Stauber and Independence Party candidate, Skip Sandman as the declared candidates so far.

"It will be interesting to see whether President Trump, whether the white house, and whether the national campaign committees pour additional resources into the district," said Klein. "Even in the heart of very purple and blue states, you can see President Trump popping up this fall."

On the Wisconsin side, also tight races shaping up. For the 7th District Congressional seat Democrat, Margaret Engebretson will be joining Kyle Frenette to battle incumbent Republican Sean Duffy.

"In both Minnesota and Wisconsin, you have a mid-term election that could be determinative of the whole national landscape," said Klein.

However, what he says won't be much of an issue for the candidates is the size of the federal budget deficit.

"It tends not to be a voting issue unless candidates drive it there," Klein said. "Some conservative republicans are saying, we we're worried about deficits under Obama, so we should be just as worried under Trump but they (Republicans) are saying there are other priorities."

Priorities like tax cuts and additional spending on defense are some of the main focuses.

"Bottom line for people is they should look at the candidates on their merits, kind of filter out the noise, and there is a lot of noise these days, and try to make a decision based on what's best for you, your family, and your vision for the country," said Klein. 


Taylor Holt

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