Republican Stewart Mills announces challenge to Rick Nolan in 8th District

WASHINGTON – We’re only six months into the 2013-2014 campaign cycle and already multiple challengers have stepped into U.S. House races across the state. The latest: Republican Stewart Mills announced today that he plans to challenge DFL U.S. Rick Nolan in the 8th Congressional District.

The 41 year-old Mills is a political newcomer and a member of the family that owns the Mills Fleet Farm chain of stores that operates across the upper Midwest. He first hit the political radar of many observers in January with this video protesting a proposed assault weapons ban in Congress.

“Minnesota families and job creators are suffering because of gridlock, lack of leadership and unwillingness to engage in the hard work needed to tackle the challenges facing our great nation. Congress needs someone bringing Minnesota values every time a problem or challenge is faced by our country,” Mills said in a statement posted on his campaign website.

Nolan was returned to Congress by voters last November after a more than three decade absence, having served three terms in the 1970s. He defeated one-term Republican Chip Cravaack in a closely-watched and expensive race though Nolan ultimately won by a nine point margin.

The Cook Political Report rates Nolan’s seat as “Likely Democratic.” The  nonpartisan analysts also gave a “Likely Republican” rating to the 2nd District seat held by Republican John Kline that’s a top Democratic target this election cycle.