Fanning withdraws from MN-8 race

Daniel Fanning, the Iraq war vet and Duluth political organizer, announced Wednesday in a letter to supporters he would withdraw from the race for Congress in Minnesota’s Eighth District. Citing a lack of funds and insufficient support from likely delegates in the DFL endorsement process, Fanning said he will focus on helping the DFL win the contest against freshman incumbent Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN8) in other ways.

Fanning represented an outside candidacy, a true dark horse who had limited support within the party but whose personal story and frank style had an upside. Unfortunately, he just never caught the wave he needed to build support in advance of next month’s crucial precinct caucuses.

Three candidates remain in the DFL race: Former Duluth city councilor Jeff Anderson, former Congressman Rick Nolan from Crosby and former St. Cloud-area state Sen. Tarryl Clark who moved to Duluth for this race.

Fanning’s departure puts support from Duluth and progressive corners of the party back on the table. This benefits Nolan and Anderson most, who probably would have split support with Fanning in these constitencies. Fanning’s exit hurts Clark by increasing the amount of support she’d need to win the DFL primary, where she and Anderson have said they’ll run with or without the party endorsement. Clark has faced scathing criticism over her residency situation and now faces a strengthened Anderson and Nolan, both of whom are busy citing their deep, personal roots in northern Minnesota.

A close, three-way primary field is possible here, but so too is a quick winnowing to two candidates, or even one, if the endorsement process produces a clear leader.

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