Nashwauk mayor Ben DeNucci enters 6A race

Ben DeNucci

Ben DeNucci

Nashwauk Mayor Ben DeNucci announced his candidacy for the DFL nomination for House of Representatives in District 6A on the central Iron Range. DeNucci is the owner of DeNucci’s Saloon in downtown Nashwauk and Keewatin Auto Repair in nearby Keewatin, where he also works.

DeNucci made his announcement in a Crystal Dey story in the Hibbing Daily Tribune.

In Dey’s story, DeNucci takes a strong stand for changing the state’s wild rice sulfate standard, a controversial topic in Minnesota politics:

“The current environmental regulation with regards to the sulfate standard need to be changed,” he said. “The importance mining has in our region is undeniable.”

DeNucci said both his grandfathers worked in the mining industry, one as a shovel runner and the other as a mechanic. He is on the Western Mesabi Mine Planning Board.

The state of the mining industry has created a ripple effect in Range communities, he noted, and sulfate standards based on science from more than 80 years ago are being tested.

“These studies prove that the current standards need to be changed so that projects, such as the Keetac expansion, can move forward,” he said. “We clearly have an urgency to address foreign steel dumping.”

DeNucci also talked about investments in higher education and community infrastructure as a means of weathering the economic storm:

“As a local business owner, I know the importance of small business in our communities,” DeNucci said. “I am invested in our community and know the issues we face because I live in that world.”

DeNucci, 40, was elected Mayor of Nashwauk in 2014. He is a volunteer Nashwauk firefighter and EMS worker. He is a board member for the United Way of 1,000 Lakes and Range Association of Municipalities and Schools (RAMS). He has a degree in facility management from the University of North Dakota, a field he worked in for 15 years. He and his wife Kelly are both from Nashwauk.

DeNucci is the third DFLer to enter the race. Teacher Julie Sandstede of Hibbing and Steelworker Mark Larson of Chisholm announced their campaigns last week. Teacher Rob Farnsworth of Hibbing is the only Republican candidate to announce so far.


  1. I am suprised DeNucci is running as a Democrat. Was certain he supported the republican party?

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