Green Party candidate could complicate MN-8 race

State PoliticsMPR’s Catharine Richert filed a story this week about Ray Sandman, Green Party candidate for Congress in Minnesota’s Eighth District. Sandman, a Duluth Vietnam veteran and community advocate who grew up on the Fond du Lac reservation, has run a mostly quiet campaign (he didn’t return calls to be in Richert’s story). Nevertheless, he is generally well known in the area as an opponent of nonferrous mining projects in Northeastern Minnesota.

Here’s my quote from the story:

Iron Range blogger and Democrat Aaron Brown said the issue has put Nolan, who believes mining can be done without hurting the environment, in a politically difficult position. On one hand, he has to appease constituents who believe mining will create jobs. On the other, he has to reflect constituent concerns that mining is too environmentally risky.

Brown said Sandman’s view appeals to progressives, particularly in Duluth and parts of the district that rely on outdoor tourism.

“[Sandman] is a very pure representation of that left flank,” Brown said. “There is genuine frustration – you could even call it anger or outrage – by environmentalists with Rick Nolan over the issue of mining.”

A supporter of Sandman’s was unhappy with me in the comments section recently because I hadn’t mentioned his candidacy. He has been extraordinarily quiet. I haven’t received any press releases or position papers from him, nor have the journalists I’ve talked to. Sandman even declined to call Richert back for the story about his candidacy that would run statewide on MPR. So Sandman’s not going to win, but he represents an option for those on the left disaffected by Nolan’s pro-mining stances. That’s bound to help Mills somewhat, but it’s hard to say how much.

Question is, are anti-mining Democrats and liberals flirting with the idea of voting for Sandman, or are they serious? The answer could change as election day nears.

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