Nolan posting big lead in MN-8 DFL delegate race

I suppose it’s time for a quick update on northern Minnesota politics. As this Star Tribune story clearly shows, U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN8) will face a tough race for re-election in this northern Minnesota district. Three DFLers are vying to challenge him, former Duluth City Councilor and Ely native Jeff Anderson, former St. Cloud State Sen. Tarryl Clark and former Congressman Rick Nolan of Crosby.

Clark made waves a couple weeks ago when she announced she would compete directly in the August primary. It’s not clear what impact this will have on the race. But this week it was Rick Nolan’s turn to make waves.

Eighth District DFL Congressional candidate Rick Nolan’s campaign announced today that his campaign has taken a commanding lead in the DFL endorsement race, with over 70% of elected delegates being identified Nolan supporters. A candidate needs to have the support of 60% of delegates in order to receive the endorsement of the DFL Party.

So far, 14 conventions have been held and Nolan has won all of them. This past weekend, the Nolan campaign was able to register big wins in key areas like Duluth, Ely, Bemidji, Walker, Ogilvie and North Branch. Five more conventions will be held this coming weekend, all in counties where Nolan demonstrated strong support and won by wide margins in the February 7 caucus straw poll.

As the only candidate agreeing to abide by the DFL party endorsement in May, Nolan has paid special attention to the county convention process and now reports these big gains in delegate contests over the weekend. Nolan was already a frontrunner for the endorsement, but by winning more delegates out of Duluth than Jeff Anderson it’s hard to imagine Nolan not capturing the endorsement at this point.

Unless Anderson scores monumental victories on his native Iron Range in coming weeks he’ll have to decide whether he too would go to a primary against a DFL endorsed candidate. The stakes are high, particularly in the SD5 convention on April 14.

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