DULUTH, Minn. - The election landscape got a bit more intriguing Friday with the announcement Democratic 8th District Congressman Rick Nolan will not run for re-election when his term ends in 2018.
Nolan, 74, released a letter to his constituents informing them he will retire at the end of his current term, rather than muster the funds and energy to hang on to what has become one of the GOP's most targeted seats.
"To be sure, I’m really going to miss representing the 8th District, but it is time for me to spend more time with my wonderful wife, Mary, our four fantastic adult children and their terrific spouses, and our 13 remarkable grandchildren," Nolan said in a written statement. "They have been incredibly patient and supportive. Now it’s time for me to respond in kind, and give them the attention they deserve and I want to give."
In his announcement Nolan says by making his intentions clear he hopes he is giving potential Democratic candidates a chance to present themselves to voters at the many party conventions scheduled across the 8th District in coming months.
Senator Amy Klobuchar congratulated Nolan on his decision to spend more time with his family, adding "Rick has served our country well and done incredible work for Northern Minnesota. When he speaks, he speaks with honesty. When he takes on a fight, he never backs down. With a twinkle in his eye and a big heart for his constituents, he has been a joy to work with."
The news was welcomed by Minnesota Republicans, who anticipated a tough battle to claim Nolan's seat. "Today's news of an open seat in Minnesota's 8th District is yet another boost to Republican prospects in 2018. Minnesota's 8th District was already a top pickup opportunity in the country for national Republicans, and today's news positions 8th District Republicans like Pete Stauber, in an even stronger position," read a statement from the Republican Party of Minnesota. "We are looking forward to bringing new, Republican representation to Northern Minnesota in November."
Nolan narrowly defeated Stewart Mills of Mills Fleet Farm fame twice to hang on to his seat. His recent three term run in the House began when Nolan was elected in 2012. He previously served as Congressman for Minnesota's 6th District from 1975-1981.