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Stauber Wins 8th Congressional District Race

Updated: November 07, 2018 10:42 AM

Proctor, Minn. - Republican Pete Stauber has captured a once solidly Democratic northeastern Minnesota congressional district that swung hard for President Donald Trump in 2016.

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Stauber beat Democratic former state lawmaker Joe Radinovich to flip the seat back to the GOP for the first time since 2012. The seat opened up when Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan announced he wouldn't run for a fourth term.

"This isn't just about me. This is about the calling," Stauber said in his victory speech. "For just the second time in 74 years, voters in the 8th district are sending a Republican to Congress."

Minnesota's 8th District was a rare bright spot for Republicans in an otherwise bleak year for the GOP. The area was once considered a Democratic lock but has been trending toward Republicans. Trump carried the district by 15 points.

Throughout the night, Stauber volunteers and supporters were confident the district would go red. 

"He's the real deal for me," Marty Chapinski said. "Nobody has worked harder than Pete for this whole campaign."

Stauber told the crowd at his party that sending him to the House of Representatives was a victory for northern Minnesota's economy. 

"Tonight, you voted to safely and responsibly open mining in Minnesota," he said to a burst of cheering. 

Scott Dane of Associated Contract Loggers and Truckers of Minnesota hopes Stauber will also help them make strides in the logging industry. 

"Seeing Pete's candidacy, we decided that we needed somebody that we could count on in Washington, D.C.," Dane said. "We have an industry that's struggling in Minnesota and nationwide, for that matter." 

An array of experience also helped propel him to victory, Stauber said.

"Throughout the campaign, we talked about my 52 years of life -- my police career, my wife's military career, small business owner," he said. "I think that resonated with people, and my goal is to represent everybody."

He said he will represent all citizens of the 8th congressional district, no matter their political affiliation. 

"To those who didn't vote for me, I will do all I can to earn your trust and respect," he said in his speech. 

Stauber is a St. Louis County commissioner and retired police officer. He branded Radinovich as out-of-step with an increasingly Republican-leaning district.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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