By Jeff Hage
The Chip Cravaack era is over in the Eighth Congressional District after one term.
Cravaack conceded to challenger Rick Nolan around 1 a.m. Wednesday. With 75 percent of the vote counted, Nolan held a 52-47 percent lead.
The Nolan camp had reason for optimism early. When results came in from all of Duluth’s 34 precincts, the former three-term congressman held a 68.42 percent to 31.58 percent lead in the city of Duluth. Nolan had 30,961 votes to Cravaack’s 14, 288 votes in the city.
“Tonight I’d like to thank Congressman Chip Cravaack for his service to our country and our district. We hold very different views on the best path forward, but despite our differences I have great respect for anyone who is willing to step up and fight for what they believe in,” Nolan said in statement after Cravaack conceded the race.
Nolan represented Minnesota’s old 6th District from 1975 to 1981.
When he filed for office in July, 2011 he said it became clear after three months of pre-campaign meetings with DFL party leaders and citizens throughout the 18 counties of the 8th that “people don’t feel like they matter anymore when decisions are being made in Washington.” He set out to change that.
The Cravaack-Nolan race became one of most closely watched races in the country and became a big-dollar affair with millions being spent on advertising to see which of the candidates would return to Washington.
Cravaack ran on a platform more concerned about the national debt and was opposed to reducing military spending. He has been very visible throughout the district and he has tackled tough issues like the PolyMet mining permit process in an effort to create jobs on the economically needy Iron Range.
Nolan was supportive of the Affordable Care Act, and understands the business community and how to export to other countries through his experience as a founder, chairman and past president of the Minnesota World Trade Center Corporation.
“I’d also like to thank the voters of the 8th District for giving me this honor tonight. I am truly humbled by the outpouring of support my campaign has received, and I can’t possibly express my full appreciation,” Nolan said
“My family has been in the 8th district for six generations – I’ve raised my family here, grown my business here and I am so proud to have the opportunity to represent this great district in Washington,” he added.
“As I’ve said throughout this campaign, the way to get this country back on track is by investing in the middle class. It is time to start rebuilding America’s infrastructure and stop nation building abroad. We need to stop giving tax breaks to the super rich and start investing in education, infrastructure and in the backbone of this country: the middle class.
“Together, we can move this country forward and I am excited about the opportunities ahead,” Nolan said.