8th District money race evens as Rep. Nolan’s fundraising lags, Mills’ surges

WASHINGTON — When 8th District Rep. Rick Nolan returned to Capitol Hill after a more than 30 year absence, he made it clear fundraising wouldn’t be his top priority and said he wouldn’t spend the four hours a day dialing for dollars that congressional Democrats recommend for new members.

“If it means I’m a one-term congressman, so be it,” Nolan told the Star Tribune.

Now we’ll find out how serious Nolan was about that pledge.

Hours after Nolan’s GOP challenger, Stewart Mills, said he raised $244,000 in his first quarter on the campaign trail, Nolan’s campaign announced it had raised just $129,000.

The two campaigns’ bank accounts were closely matched with Nolan holding $261,000 and Mills holding $234,000. Both campaigns also have debts, with Mills carrying $14,000 and Nolan owing $50,000 from his 2012 campaign that unseated one-term GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack.

Money doesn’t count for everything in campaigns but Mills’ fundraising, coupled with his significant personal wealth and the 8th District’s increasingly swing-y demographics, suggests that the 8th could again be one of the hardest fought and most expensive House races in Minnesota next year.