Minnesota's 8th Congressional District
One of a handful of only 26 seats that will decide control of the House
The dirty little secret of politics is only a tiny number of voters in a few key districts and states decide who will control Congress or win the White House. Minnesota's 8th district may help decide if the GOP retains control of the House.
Recent polls confirm what political insiders already knew — Freshman Republican Congressman Chip Cravaack and his DFL opponent Rick Nolan are neck and neck in the 8th Congressional District.
A poll conducted by SurveyUSA for KSTP showed Nolan leading Cravaack 46 percent to 45 percent, a statistical dead heat in the northeastern Minnesota race.
Cravaack has more than twice as much money in the bank. Cravaack had $1.1 million cash on hand at the end of last month, compared to Nolan's $464,824.
In 2010 Cravaack entered the race as a political novice and an underdog. No Republican had been elected to the office since 1947, and the incumbent Democrat James Oberstar was the longest-serving Congressman in Minnesota's history, usually cruising to re‑election.
Chip Cravaack for Congress
Historically, northeastern Minnesota has been the most Democratic region in the entire state outside of the Twin Cities. Geography was also against Cravaack as well; his home in Lindstrom is located in Chisago County, in the southern portion of the district.
According to the Star Tribune, Cravaack's campaign was "structured like a military operation". He toured the district in a motor home dubbed "The War Wagon", and ranked volunteers with titles such as commander, captain, and precinct lieutenant. He discovered that his experience as a union steward attracted the interest of district voters, especially the miners.
Cravaack campaigned on a platform of free-market principles and government spending cuts. He attacked Oberstar's vote on the health care bill, saying he would vote to repeal and replace it, and called an Oberstar-approved extension of the Clean Water Act to include wet meadows, a "land grab" by the federal government. He criticized the earmark process that Oberstar had used to fund infrastructure projects in the district, saying it was time for the spending to stop
The Ultra-Close 2010 Race
|2010 Eighth Congressional District of Minnesota Elections|
|Democratic||James Oberstar (incumbent)||129,091||47%|
|Constitution||Richard (George) Burton||2,492||1%|
|Republican gain from Democratic|
|2012 Minnesota congressional districts.|