Joe Radinovich enters DFL race for Congress

Joe Radinovich

Former State Rep. Joe Radinovich of Crosby announced today he would seek the DFL nomination for Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District.

Northeastern Minnesota is who I am, where I’m from, and what I’ll always fight for. I’ve spent my life fighting for working families, whether it be organizing for workers’ rights, promoting economic investment in northeastern Minnesota, or proudly representing Aitkin and Crow Wing counties in Saint Paul. I’m no stranger to hardship and I will always stand up for what’s right.

When Congressman Rick Nolan announced his retirement, I got calls from Minnesotans everywhere – from Brainerd to Duluth, Virginia to Cambridge – urging me to run for Congress.

Now more than ever, we’ve got to continue this fight, to take on the special interests, and to stand up for working people and families while keeping an eye to the future of our region. That includes expanding opportunity for kids in rural Minnesota, ensuring working people have opportunities in a changing economy, and harnessing our natural resources while protecting our way of life.

I’m looking forward to this challenge and to seeing all of you out on the trail.

Radinovich served one term in the State House, worked for the Minnesota Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation, and until today served as chief of staff to Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. He led Frey’s campaign last fall.

Radinovich served as the campaign manager for U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan in the tumultuous 2016 race. In that contest,  Nolan managed to fend off his Republican challenger despite President Trump winning the district by more than 15 percentage points. Nolan’s surprising retirement announcement last week created a burgeoning multi-party scrum to become his successor.

Probably the biggest ding on Radinovich is his singular term in his hometown House district. However, Radinovich stands behind the decisions that led to him losing that seat.

House 10B was a new district formed with the 2012 redistricting map. Radinovich barely won that year. He then voted for Minnesota’s gay marriage law, alienating conservative voters. In the 2014 Republican wave, he lost by just shy of four points. While he may not yet have won over those lost votes, his act of political sacrifice was appreciated by Minnesota liberals across the state.

You can tell Radinovich wasn’t expecting Nolan to retire, because taking a job in Minneapolis last month won’t help him in a Northern Minnesota race. But he’s always maintained residence on the Cuyuna Range, a pivotal swing area in a complicated district.

Read more about the MN-8 race at my special coverage page.



  1. DNT notes that Michelle Lee just announced her candidacy as well. Her selection of former Duluth city councilor Sharla Gardner as her campaign manager suggests she will be positioning herself to the left of many of the other candidates. I am very curious to see how her candidacy goes, since she is a total wild card not previously involved in politics.

  2. I get a kick out of Radinovich…he’s always “fighting”. Not sure who he’s fighting against, but the fact he’s never had a paycheck that wasn’t issued to him by either local or state government, you know who he’s fighting for – bigger and bigger government.

  3. Ranger never fails to take the low ground…never.

  4. Ranger is just a kiss up, kick down kind of guy.

  5. Richard Ginsberg says

    Joe Radinovich may have only served one term but he along with Rep. Anzelc, Rep. Melin made it one of the mst productive ever.
    2013 Session –
    Funding all-day, every-day kindergarten for every five-year-old in the state; a two-year tuition freeze for public college and university students; expanded health coverage for hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans and creating the Minnesota-based health insurance exchange

    The 2014 Session –
    Passed legislation that increased the minimum wage from among the nation’s lowest to $9.50 and indexed the wage to inflation in the future, passed limited medical marijuana legislation and enacted the Women’s Economic Security Act which includes pay equity requirements for state contractors, workplace protections for caregivers and new mothers, and incentives for women entrepreneurs (Rep. Carly Melin)

  6. Richard Ginsberg says

    Should have included Rep. Jason Metsa, with Rep. Melin, Rep. Anzelc and Rep. Radinovich in that list who helped pass that legislation from 2013-2014.

  7. I”m not sure how smart this statement was by Mr. Radinovich:

    “Northeastern Minnesota is who I am, where I’m from, and what I’ll always fight for,” Radinovich said in a news release. (Brainerd Dispatch)

    Nobody in his hometown says they are from “northeastern Minnesota.”

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