Republican congressional candidate Stewart Mills announced that 16 Republican legislators have endorsed his 8th Congressional District candidacy, continuing Mills’ seemingly inevitable march toward an election match-up with DFL U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan.
Mills, the only declared GOP candidate in that race so far, was endorsed by a number of prominent Republicans who represent parts of the 8th District, including House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, who praised the Mills Fleet Farm vice president for his success in the private sector.
“Stewart Mills has been an integral business leader in our district and across the state of Minnesota for many years,” Daudt said. “His leadership and problem solving ability will be a greatly needed addition to Washington.”
Mills also scored endorsements from Sens. Michelle Benson (Ham Lake), Sean Nienow (Cambridge) and Carrie Ruud (Breezy Point).
“Stewart Mills fits our district,” Ruud said. “He is one of us. I look forward to having someone in Washington that represents the people.”
Mills gained some national attention last week when third-quarter fundraising totals revealed that he had significantly outperformed Nolan, who has made clear that he does not care for fundraising. Mills brought in $244,000 during the quarter and, having spent hardly any, still had $234,000 in cash on hand. During the same period, Nolan reported raising $129,000, much of which came through liberal and union-oriented political action committees. As of October 1, the Democratic incumbent had $261,000 in cash on hand.
Republican consultant and strategist Ben Golnik said Mills’ fundraising report would probably rule out any risk that another conservative might jump into that race.
“I think it’s pretty clear that [Mills] is probably going to be the guy,” Golnik said.
Mills’ next challenge, according to Golnik, is to convince national Republican and conservative groups that he is worthy of their investment. While the Republican’s perceived viability remains to be seen, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has already deemed Nolan a vulnerable candidate.
The group targeted Nolan with a $24,000 television ad buy in August, and on Thursday released a radio campaign attacking him. The ad highlights complaints of technical problems with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, and criticized Nolan for having “voted to keep special [health care] subsidies for members of Congress.”
According to the NRCC, the radio spot is directed at “women voters in Nolan’s district.” A virtually identical radio ad was also launched against DFL U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, who does not yet have a declared Republican opponent.