DFL candidates debate issues in Minnesota’s 8th District

In just three weeks voters decide which of five DFL candidates for Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District advances to a tough general election. Some candidates have more money than others, but relatively few ads have run on local television.

I’ve analyzed the race. But I must also stress that this is a very fluid contest that could be shaped by the simple question of who shows up to vote.

The candidates include:

  • State Rep. Jason Metsa, a Mesabi Iron Range lawmaker with deep ties to organized labor
  • Former State Rep. Joe Radinovich, the Crosby political aide who famously lost his conservative rural seat after voting for same-sex marriage
  • Michelle Lee, a former Duluth TV anchor running a progressive grassroots campaign
  • Kirsten Kennedy, the mayor of North Branch, running as a uniter with practical life and political experience
  • Soren Sorensen, a Bemidji political activist running on a strong environmental message

So what are the differences between the candidates? Probably the best way to size up the group is to watch or listen to a debate. The policy differences are slight, except in the case of nonferrous mining. The priority differences give some separation. And the style differences seem notable.

On Monday, all five candidates participated in a local DFL-sponsored debate at Central Lakes College in Brainerd.

You can view the full debate here, thanks to The Uptake:

Minnesota Public Radio also aired an 8th District DFL debate on July 20. You can listen and read the MPR summary of the candidate statements here.

MPR made the editorial decision to exclude Soren Sorensen from the debate, citing his campaign as uncompetitive. Sorensen disputed this decision and is currently seeking equal time.

I’ll pass along other debates as they happen.

Readers have asked if I plan to do a candidate interview series like I did in 2012. I have decided not to for a few reasons.

First, time. I am researching a major book project and have to make choices about my schedule. Second, I would only undertake this endeavor if I thought I was offering something valuable. I’m not able to dedicate enough time to say that this year. Third, I’ve known some of these candidates for years and have had candid conversations with a few of them about issues. I don’t want to do this if it would be unfair or *appear* unfair.

So I’ll take a break from interviews this year. I’ll still offer the most unbiased coverage I can muster, and I’ll be following the race closely through the whole cycle.

You can follow the MN-8 race at my special coverage page.


  1. Bonnie Lokenvitz says

    THANK YOU to the DFL committees who sponsored this debate, to Uptake for recording this and other forums this year, and to Aaron Brown for his CD8 coverage. I appreciated the ‘debate’ format that allowed participants to go beyond their standard stump speeches.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.