MN-8 DFLers meet tonight at Duluth forum

Tonight, the three candidates seeking the DFL nomination to face Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN8) in this year’s race for Congress will meet in a forum in Duluth. The event, sponsored by Duluth Community Action and others, will take place from 7-9 p.m. at Somer’s Hall at the College of St. Scholastica.

The candidates, Jeff Anderson, Tarryl Clark and Rick Nolan, have appeared at several forums before, but this is the first forum held in which it is clear that all three will proceed to the DFL primary next August. No one has to couch words; they are competing with each other over who would be best to run against Cravaack and unite DFLers on that mission.

The dynamic of the race is clearing up.

Who’s going to have the DFL endorsement and the grassroots organization that comes with that? Rick Nolan. His delegate base will easily carry the convention on May 5.

Who has the most money? Tarryl Clark. Not even close. She raised almost $321,000 in the first quarter of this year and has $418,000 cash on hand, outraising even Cravaack. Nolan’s sitting on about $40,000 after raising $77,000 in Q1. Anderson’s account resembles that of a state house candidate. This means Clark will get to flood the airwaves with friendly, happy commercials in a race in which many primary voters are starting with little knowledge of the candidates.

And who has the most to prove in a forum like tonight’s? That’d be Anderson. A polished speaker who has the most “8th-districty” narrative (Ely native, Duluth business person, National Guard vet who supports mining), Anderson will remain in the mix purely based on the Range and Duluth’s importance in the electorate, though he simply must prove himself capable of competing with Nolan and Clark, who have earned front-runner status in very different ways.

So while I won’t be there tonight, some of you in Duluth might wish to take this one in. I’m betting it might be a little different than the ones that have been held so far.

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