Northern Minnesota congressional race reflects changing political makeup

Northern Minnesota congressional race reflects changing political makeup

DULUTH — Ahead in cash and title recognition, U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber is blasting President Joe Biden as an alternative of his Democratic challenger as he campaigns for a 3rd time period.

During a televised debate this week, the Republican congressman mentioned he is aware of working households are doing “every little thing you possibly can to remain afloat in Biden’s failed financial system, costing you hundreds and hundreds extra annually … We should cease Joe Biden’s reckless spending.”

Pointing out that she — not the president — is Stauber’s opponent, state Rep. Jen Schultz took intention at his voting report, and mentioned she’d construct relationships throughout social gathering traces to get issues achieved.

“People are bored with the polarization,” she mentioned. “They need elected officers to ship outcomes, not play politics.”

Stauber and Schultz face off within the Eighth Congressional District, as soon as a Democratic stronghold focused on the Iron Range and Duluth, its largest metropolis. That’s modified as conservatism — and energy — grows to the north of Duluth, south and west.

Stauber, a retired police officer and Hermantown resident who flipped the seat from Democrat management in 2018, gained by almost 20 share factors in 2020. District voters selected Republican Donald Trump for president each that 12 months and in 2016 by convincing margins.

The district’s already-sprawling boundaries have grown. Redistricting this 12 months expanded it to just about 37,000 sq. miles, now encompassing all seven Minnesota Anishinaabe tribes and pushing farther west past Bemidji and south, into the outer reaches of the metro.

Federal filings present greater than $2 million has poured into Stauber’s marketing campaign, whereas Schultz has acquired simply shy of $530,000.

Stauber is against abortion, and in September he co-sponsored a House invoice that might federally ban most abortions after 15 weeks. But he mentioned abortion is just not a top-of-mind difficulty for voters in his district.

“We hear concerning the fuel costs, the 401ks being lowered,” Stauber mentioned throughout a marketing campaign cease on the Iron Range final week. “That they can not ship their kids to the park to play with out one thing violently taking place to them. That’s what I’m listening to on the doorways.”

Yet Schultz mentioned abortion entry is a precedence for a lot of she talks to. A UMD economics professor and state legislator for japanese Duluth since 2015, she spoke in mid-October to a room filled with retired railroad employees at a West Duluth American Legion. Amid questions on pensions, gun management and her stance on controlling the border shared with Mexico, somebody requested the place she stood on abortion rights.

Decisions about abortion needs to be made between ladies and their medical doctors, she mentioned, “and I consider that we have now had these rights for 50 years and I’m not going to return.”

The room of largely males erupted in applause.

Schultz sees extra to the race than what’s on paper, she mentioned.

“The DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) and out of doors teams aren’t taking a look at this race, however they need to be,” she mentioned.

The district hasn’t seen a landslide congressional DFL victory since 2008 when U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar bested Republican Michael Cummins by greater than 35 share factors.

Stauber has modified how he presents to voters, mentioned Cynthia Rugeley, a political science professor on the University of Minnesota Duluth.

He marketed himself as a bipartisan congressman throughout his first time period, and now, “he is overtly partisan,” she mentioned. “That tells you one thing concerning the makeup of the district.”

Votes on infrastructure and elections

In their first debate Wednesday, Stauber and Schultz attacked one another’s information and clashed on abortion, the coed mortgage forgiveness program and methods to fight inflation. Stauber repeatedly tore into Biden, blaming him for top heating payments and fuel costs.

Both Schultz and Stauber agreed on the worth of mining in northeastern Minnesota, and that proposed copper-nickel mining be achieved safely. But Stauber mentioned Schultz constructed her profession on “anti-mining activism,” whereas Schultz mentioned Stauber has didn’t safe federal funding to check protected methods to conduct copper-nickel mining, which has by no means been achieved in Minnesota.

The pair will debate twice extra, in Brainerd and Hibbing.

In an interview, Schultz mentioned folks aren’t proud of Stauber’s voting report. Stauber opposed Democrats’ $1.9 trillion stimulus package deal responding to the pandemic, in addition to a bipartisan infrastructure invoice. He additionally voted towards elements of an enormous spending invoice that contained 5 earmarked tasks he had championed for Minnesota.

Stauber mentioned his vote towards the pandemic stimulus package deal boiled right down to concern of inflation. He voted towards the infrastructure invoice, he mentioned, as a result of it included pointless spending throughout the nation.

“Nobody needed an infrastructure package deal greater than I did,” he mentioned, noting his assist for the Twin Ports Interchange and Blatnik Bridge tasks. “When the Republicans take the bulk, I can guarantee you they will be clear payments on infrastructure.”

Although Stauber was criticized for backing a failed Texas lawsuit searching for to invalidate the 2020 presidential election ends in 4 swing states, he later voted to certify Biden’s win simply hours after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. He mentioned in an interview final week he is all the time honored election outcomes.

“Joe Biden was elected, similar to Donald Trump was elected in 2016,” he mentioned.

Stauber’s connections to the “MAGA wing of the Republican social gathering” aren’t an issue to many citizens who’re making selections primarily based on tradition and identification, mentioned Aaron Brown, an writer and professor who lives in Itasca County.

Brown mentioned Republican speaking factors about Twin Cities crime and the liberal environmentalists who dwell there resonate with many northern Minnesota voters, who purchase into Stauber’s “our lifestyle” marketing campaign slogan.

“People will tolerate the issues they do not like about Pete Stauber if culturally they really feel like they’re successful,” Brown mentioned.

Staff author Hunter Woodall contributed to this report.

Recommended For You

About the Author: Jessica