Republicans are hoping to flip a Minnesota seat after national Democrats pulled nearly $1 million in funding.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee pulled "all spending" in Minneapolis aimed at defending Rep. Rick Nolan's seat in Minnesota's 8th District. The announcement said it would reallocate $1.2 million to help other candidates in the state, but the DCCC declined to say whether all of that money came from its planned 8th district spending. The move came as Republican Pete Stauber, a St. Louis County commissioner and veteran police officer, turned a 1-point September deficit into a 15-point lead, according to a New York Times poll. Stauber's campaign said that Democratic candidate Joe Radinovich—Nolan's former campaign manager—had failed to reflect the interests of northern Minnesota throughout the race, which is why he failed to maintain the wide support of his former boss.
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"Joe Radinovich is clearly being rejected by Minnesota voters," Stauber spokesman Caroline Tarwid said. "It's no wonder Democrat allies are cutting and running from Joe."
Radinovich's campaign did not respond to request for comment.
Stauber has focused his campaign on local issues, particularly on the Duluth region's mining economy, while also highlighting his willingness to buck GOP trends. The former law enforcement union leader has said he would not back right-to-work legislation, which ends mandatory fair share fees. The Stauber campaign has attracted support from beyond Donald Trump's base, which overwhelmingly supported the president in 2016 even as it sent Nolan to Congress, earning the endorsement of the Duluth News Tribune.
The National Republican Congressional Committee said the DCCC was wise to pull funding from the district even after it invested more than $1.4 million in preserving Nolan's seat.
"Pulling support from Joe Radinovich has got to be in the top ten smartest things the DCCC has ever done," an NRCC spokeswoman said. "They know that Pete Stauber is going to Congress. Nothing they or Radinovich's flailing campaign does is going to change that."
DCCC officials did not respond to requests for comment.
Republican-aligned groups have flooded the district eager to flip a seat as Democrats campaign to retake control of the House of Representatives. The Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), a super PAC supporting the GOP majority, began amassing on the ground in the 8th district just days after the Aug. 15 primary and began launching district-wide advertisements highlighting Radinovich's unpaid parking tickets and other legal transgressions by Aug. 18. The group said the ads, which preceded DCCC-backed ads by nearly a month, helped to reverse Stauber's early deficit.
"The goal was to [go in] early into Minnesota's 8th, disqualify the Democratic candidate, deploy an aggressive field operation, and educate voters, give the voters a choice," CLF spokesman Courtney Alexander told the Washington Free Beacon. "I think that's a real indicator of why Democrats had to make the decision to leave."
The Democratic decision to shift funds away from the race has not altered the CLF's commitment to the district. Alexander said its staff and volunteers will continue to knock on doors and get-out-the-vote throughout October.
The election will take place on Nov. 6.