Cravaack handy with snowblower, planes, etc.

John Lundy of the Duluth News Tribune had Sunday’s front page profile of incoming U.S. Rep-elect Chip Cravaack (R-MN8). Cravaack is an impressive political candidate who caught fire at the right time and managed to avoid almost all negatives during a first-time run against an 18-term incumbent. He’s known as a good neighbor down in his hometown of Lindstrom, snow blowing other driveways to be nice (though I imagine a jet pilot in early retirement would do things like that).

DFLers will have an interesting chess game to play in countering Cravaack in 2012. I would describe the MN8 race as a tossup almost any way you shake it. A strong DFL candidate would tilt it lean-Dem, a weak one would tilt it lean-GOP.

The nature of Congressional races today is such that serious candidates will have to staff and raise funds in 2011, probably starting within just a few months. This is depressing and deeply uninteresting to independents who want to see what Cravaack does first. But DFLers would be wise to start vetting a spectrum of candidates for a contested primary and all the various political scenarios 2012 might offer.

I honestly have no idea who will run or win the DFL nomination. It appears to me that some of the top tier candidates are considering other opportunities (such as the opportunity to not have to raise $3 million and go to D.C.), which could leave a very open DFL endorsement and/or primary field. Anyone have suggestions?


  1. I’m going to hold off on predictions until I see whether MN ends up with 7 seats or 8, and how redistricting turns out.

  2. I’d view this from a clearer angle. That is – “what is it I’d like to see done for the area (me), and who’s the best person to get this done”.

    So far, Chip’s approach seems worth watching. i.e. HE did the neighbors driveway (mine)…he didn’t ask the government to do it.

    I like that line of thinking..

  3. How in the world was he able to blow his neighbor’s driveway without union help or okay? Did he get a permit from the EPA for emitting more pollution, which is causing all heating, cooling, snow, lack of snow, rain and lack of rain? He’ll never make it up here where we’ve gone from the most giving, industrious, hard working people to a “give me mine” DFL-union welfare, socialist region. Both sets of my grandparents would be sick to their stomachs, if they saw an area they helped make once great, turn to a home for the most liberal, socialist leaning spot in the state. No, my grandparents were not land barons, or railroad magnets, they were miners and one set spoke no english when they came here. They worked hard, helped their neighbor and expected all in the community to do the same. In my 5 plus decades up here it’s changed and not for the better.

  4. Couldn’t agree more with Anonymous. This country was never meant to be inhabited by a bunch of free=loaders who wait around for government help. It was a country where neighbor helped neighbor and towns people came together to solve problems. Northern MN. has turned into a land of socialists, a place where hard work has been replaced with a “victim” mentality. It’s hard to watch and harder to understand. When will you wake up…?

  5. Wow…there are at least three of us Anon’s with similar thinking. Actually, more than half of MD8thinks this way. If not, Oberstar and Solberg would still be in office. There’s hope…

  6. Yeah, quite the anonymous revolution here.

  7. 48 percent of MN8 thinks this way, sort of. This is complicated, gentlefolk. Don’t get too far into groupthink. You might become socialists. (I kid, I kid)

  8. Maybe Tony Sertich will run. It would be a turnaround from this election. Mr. Craavack would be considered the old, wrinkly, un-handsome guy. Maybe the Hibbing paper could publish some pictures of Mr. Craavack on a bad-hair-day with an ill-fitting suit and his mouth open looking crabby, too, just to help it all out.

    : ) (Ha-ha, ha-ha … I am joking here …)

  9. I know you’re joking Amy but…you can bet the Duluth News Trib., the Mesabi Daily News, the Hibbing paper, the Scenic Strange News, the Rapids Herald, etc., would all have Craavack shown as you describe..:< ) P.S. Tony’s not in the same league as Blatnik, Perpich or other past Range “machine” DFL’ers. Those days…and Tony, are history. The irony’s due to the internet.

  10. Aaron, I see where you work for Tom Anzelc. I played basketball with Tom 40 plus years ago. He’s a great guy to sit around and have a beer with, funny and witty. He had this crazy hookshot from corner that was unstoppable. That being said, he’s as far left as you can go. He’s lost touch with The Range that we grew up with. I like him but would never vote for him. I hope you’re not that far left because you’re young and seem engaged in our region. We need young folks fighting for less waste and more jobs up here. Don’t buy into the socialist crap being told to you by old farts like me. What made the range great was HARD WORK, men with money that had a dream and invested in our area and all the different nationalities that made a neighborhood picnic a true experience that you can’t imagine.

  11. Tom and I moved out to Balsam the same year. That’s how I met him and I’ve run his campaigns since. Yup, good guy. I don’t know that it’s as simple as left and right anymore. I can say that I do believe in fundamental role for the state and federal government that is probably more robust than conservatives would like. I’m liberal on public education and health care. I’m more moderate on budget issues, favoring a true pay as you go system that will require spending cuts and entitlement reform as we go forward. I’m conservative on personal freedoms, including Bill of Rights standards like guns, speech and due process.

    So I don’t know, what does that mean? To respond to an earlier comment I agree that times have truly and permanently changed here. I reject the notion that the Range had a true Democratic “machine” with Blatnik and certainly Perpich. Yes, a social and political network had its sway, but such is always true in any environment. Perpich in particular made his name by bucking the powerful forces on the Range early in his career. No one cites that now because when he caught his break and moved up everyone claimed him.

    A lot of political chatter about the Range, including several of the commenters here, focus on “old DFL bad” and “new GOP good.” That is naive and not reflective of reality. We have wholesale demographic change here, which influences politics but is not politics in and of itself. People are older, kids are leaving.

    Who said it earlier? The internet is the reason for the change? I don’t disagree with that. The old political network is slow and failing. But now we have a true discussion about what the role of government should be, what schools need to accomplish, what rights people have for basic quality of life issues and what people need to do for themselves.

    Those old DFLers were immigrant children who sent their kids to greatness. What fails now fails as a result of their remarkable success in producing an educated productive society, so successful that our best and brightest left. Problems remain. Doing nothing will leave us nothing. I believe a balance approach between the private and public sectors is not only right, but the demonstrated pattern of past success here and in the country as a whole. Socialism? A buzzword. The left today is nothing close to the socialism that shaped the history of the Range. We’re playing on your center-right field in a prosperous nation build on the bones of people who worked hard for us to get here. I just don’t get the outrage that some seem to have about our past. The story of the Range is remarkable, despite the lost years after the mining collapse of the early 80s.

  12. I am one of those kids who was raised by a support group of immigrants in the 60’s. I was taught to not expect anyone to give you anything, you worked for everything you get. My dad didn’t finish high school, my mom did. Everyone of their children went to college. The values they taught us do not reflect anything I hear coming out of the left now days. So I do believe it is as simple as left and right. You are correct when you say many of the best and brightest left the area but many of us stayed after going away to college. We started businesses both big and small. We serviced the mines or the people up here who worked in the mines. Unfortunately, our children can’t find the same opportunity we had. The old DFL, who I supported for years is the new GOP, the current DFL is Gus Hall- Mesaba park socialists. You may not agree but I’ve seen it with my own eyes and it saddens me to no end.

  13. My story is very similar Anon..

    I sense we’re about the same age and of parents with similar backgrounds (doesn’t matter what ethic group, we appreciated, tolerated and had jokes for them all).

    My folks stayed on the Range and were in various businesses throughout their lives, groceries, butcher, tools, to name three. They rarely discussed politicals openly…in order to stay in business.

    The education push was identical – strong. The only difference was all four of us kids left the Range, not because we disliked it, quite the contrary we all enjoyed coming back for years. We left only because job opportuites were available elsewhere…and at that age, why not. However, like most who left, we never spoke negatively/haughtily of those who decided to stay. It’s a great place to live.

    Leaving however, but more so LIVING elsewhere, inherently exposed us to broader experiences. One of those experiences for all four of us siblings was – socialism, on-going welfare, communism, spread the weath…what ever you call it, simply doesn’t work.

    One clear example for me, who’s lived in the cities for 30+ inter-city St. Paul. It’s voted, promoted & pushed, socialists/DFL thinking forever. Yet no improvement in crime stats, education stats, number of poor stats, etc. That’s a simple local example. Look globally, same thing.

  14. I wish my dad, his uncles and the old neighborhood men were still around, they’d have a lot to say about the current mental state of the Range. Simply, they would say: get off your ass and work hard, help each other every chance you get, don’t look at what you don’t have, look at what you have and thank God for all your blessings……. Now get going. They were doers not talkers and complainers. We never hired anyone to fix anything at our house. Someone was a electrician, plumber, machine operator, they helped us out and we in turn helped them when they needed it. Now, unfortunately, people wait on the city, state or government to help them. NEWSFLASH, they don’t help you, they just make you dependent on them.

  15. I can’t really have a three way conversation with 2-3 anon posters, especially since none of us seem to be interested in changing our minds, but I’m trying to explore this issue so we understand each other.

    All, or both, or however many of us here have a unique background that informs the people we became, indeed this process is ongoing as where we live and what we do for a living further influences our perspective. I respect the stories you tell, the ideas of self-reliance and a sense of fondness for a time when a lot of the problems we have today were less of a day-to-day concern.

    I’m not going to repeat my earlier arguments, no time. But I have come to a firm belief in a blend of self-reliance by the individual (what some of you are describing) and a fair execution of our constitutional system of democratically-elected government to deliver services not readily available to the individual and of shared benefit to all of society, something that exists independent of a specific individual.

    Socialism and pure libertarianism are Utopian concepts that don’t work on their own.

    The Iron Range of the 1960s is indeed gone. Heck the Iron Range of the mid-90s is gone. But I still say the socialist talk is a rhetorical crutch. I interviewed Gus Hall. He was a creature of the 1930s, a wholly different time in our region and nation’s history. Early socialism was far different than the policies so often attacked as socialistic today. Really the whole argument now is about budget and spending issues within a system that is and will remain fundamentally capitalistic. Corporations will equal the power of the government in our lifetimes.

    Who are the people you’d kick in the pants to “get a job” and “work hard” and stop complaining? I mean, who specifically? The gal in my community college classroom with a baby and a part time job and parents who are total f***-ups who’s trying to learn a trade? People like this have problems and might even have made mistakes – ongoing mistakes (it’s very frustrating to those of us with stable backgrounds and good jobs!). Some problems are now buried deep within the culture and indeed demand change. But contempt is no solution, nor is time travel an option.

    This is really all I have to say on this.

  16. Who are the people you’d kick in the pants to “get a job” and “work hard” and stop complaining? The gal in my community college… who’s trying to learn a trade?

    No contempt, no time travel being suggested…and yes, she’s the one. One by one…

    It’s not that complicated. Hard maybe, but not complicated.

    What’s your suggestion Aaron?

  17. I’d start kicking anybody who is too dependent on government handouts to take a job that they deem below them. Then I’d kick any elected official who didn’t fight for the Polymet deal or any industry up here to put people to work. Then I’d throw out the teachers, who with tenure, bitch more, teach less. Then I’d kick the union leaders up here who’s job it is to help the workers not price them outta jobs. Then I’d kick all the people who don’t believe in American being a special place where hard work pays off. Then I’d kick the “redistribute the wealth guys” in the ass. IT could go on and on.

  18. Aaron, are you suggesting the problems are too deep to deal with?

  19. @17 – is that a comment or a Merle Haggard song?
    @18 – hardly. I post ideas here fairly often. The ones I have talked about most lately is developing the range as a e-commuter and creative/productive center. Difficult because it involves appealing to people who have left or never lived here, which doesn’t sit well with locals. Someday I’ll have to explain my take on how we can improve education, mostly surrounding improving the handoff between K12 and college, and stressing tech training as a viable alternative to a 4 year degree for those who don’t need a 4 year degree (and the debt that comes with it).

  20. Agree on tech school, it gives you a skill you can walk into a job with. Where I assume we would differ greatly is K-12 education. This BS of everybody has to feel good so we won’t give out D’s or F’s is crazy. No child left behind was a scam where teachers just moved under prepared students along. The DFL in our state has thrown money at the problem to no good ends. In Ramsey county, the Mounds View school district, spent $7,500 a student, in the city of St. Paul they spent $12,500 per student, nothing changed. The Mounds View students graduated at 93% the City schools less than 60%. The money did nothing. That’s my beef with the DFL they throw money at all problems. Look at the national debate about the greedy rich vs the poor working folk. It’s embarrassing in America that the far left uses class warfare arguments steady. Isn’t it the American dream to aspire to improve and succeed? Somehow they’ve become the enemy of the working class. That is why you have so much talk of socialism on this site. Those of us old enough to remember JFK and that brand of democrat can’t understand this current batch of socialist DFL’ers.

  21. “I have talked about most lately is developing the range as a e-commuter and creative/productive center?” – Tell me more. Sounds like a long-range plan that needs weekly objectives to get it done.

    Nothing saying it can’t go hand in hand with the more immediately effective “kick in the pants, people doing something to help themselves” approach.

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