Sue Hakes of Grand Marais to explore MN-8 bid

With Congressman Rick Nolan considering a run for governor, a potential Democratic candidate for his Eighth Congressional District seat announced her exploratory committee today.

Sue Hakes

Sue Hakes, who previously served as Cook County Commissioner and Mayor of Grand Marais, will test the field as Nolan considers his future.

“When I think about Minnesota’s Eighth District, I think people first,” Hakes said in a press release. “I want to fight the current administration’s budgetary goals which chip away at — or gut entirely — the very institutions that make rural life possible and the amenities that make rural America a desirable place to live”.

Also from the press release:

Hakes describes herself as a problem solver who is guided by Martin Luther King’s words, “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” Her passions lie in building a resilient economy, making education a priority, ensuring access to quality affordable health care and protecting the environment that is a big reason we all live here.”

A lifelong Minnesotan, Hakes has lived in Grand Marais since 1995. She and her husband John Gorski, formerly of Eveleth, work in real estate. In 2014, she was awarded a Bush Foundation Fellowship. She studied at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Hakes served as Mayor of Grand Marais in 2009 and 2010. She served as Cook County Commissioner from 2011 through 2014. Prior to being an elected official, she owned and operated Sue Hakes Realty in Grand Marais and worked in Business Development at Honeywell in Minneapolis.

Hakes becomes the first candidate to publicly announce her interest in Nolan’s seat. Nolan seems to be seriously considering a run for governor, attending political events around the state with the other announced candidates.

If Nolan does run, and he’s taking his time to decide, other DFL candidates will likely emerge in the Eighth District. The district is ground zero in the DFL schism over mining and environmental issues. Hakes is out first.

On the Republican side, Stewart Mills has not announced whether he will try a third time to win the MN-8 seat. Political types seem to assume that Mills will step aside for another Republican if Nolan runs, but might try again if it’s an open seat.



  1. Nick and Carol Burger says

    This is a joke, right?

  2. Way to go Sue…good luck!!!

  3. David Gray says

    I don’t see Nolan running for governor with Walz already in the race.

    I’m not sure Grand Marais is an ideal political base for the current Eighth District.

    • independant says

      I have no idea of her stance on mining but reading between the lines I am guessing she may not be a big fan. In the current political climate an anti mining DFL candidate doesn’t stand a chance in hell of wining a general election campaign in the 8th district.

      • David Gray says

        The only way Nolan runs now is if he decides to hand the nomination to a Twin Cities DFLer, well to the left of Walz.

  4. Gertrude Chirambo says

    This is great Sue, with best wishes.

  5. Bill and Carla Hakes says

    Good luck Sue!!!!

  6. Gerald S says

    After receiving emails and mailers for weeks urging me to work to draft Nolan for governor, two days ago I got an email from his organization urging me to support re-electing Nolan to Congress. Nolan seems to be losing interest in the governor’s race in favor of another run in CD8.

  7. Lorrie Janatopoulos says

    Sue would make an outstanding Congresswoman. Most important to keep the position DFL. So happy we have a leader ready to step up. Waiting now to see Nolan’s decision.

    • Ranger47 says

      Why is keeping the position DFL so vital, even trumping putting an outstanding person in the job?

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