US Rep. Rick Nolan won't run for re-election in 8th District

US Rep. Rick Nolan won't run for re-election in 8th District

US Rep. Rick Nolan won't run for re-election in 8th District

Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan says he will retire to spend more time with family, creating an open race for a northeast Minnesota House district that has become swing territory in the past decade.

It's a stunning change of heart for Nolan.

The 8th District had always been a Democratic stronghold, but changing demographics, political views and district boundaries have turned it into one of the most competitive seats in the nation in recent elections.

Nolan announced his decision in a statement Friday morning saying he wanted to "pass the baton to the next generation".

Nolan's popularity has provided Democrats the ability to win a seat in the Republican-leaning district - while President TrumpDonald John TrumpTillerson: Russia already looking to interfere in 2018 midterms Dems pick up deep-red legislative seat in Missouri Speier on Trump's desire for military parade: "We have a Napoleon in the making" MORE won the district by more than 15 points in 2016, Nolan squeaked out reelection by less than a percentage point.

He was expected to face both a hard-fought primary and a competitive general election campaign if he stuck around.

Nolan previously served as a congressman from 1975 to 1981.

"I think people are going to be surprised how strong a bench we have up in the 8th District", he said, adding that he believes a dozen viable DFL candidates could run.

If one party can sweep most of those races, it is likely to be in the driver's seat for holding the congressional majorities and controlling governor's mansions around the nation. I got back into the front line of politics to see what I could do to help with getting things turned around in the district and in the country...

"Despite the fact that our nation is being challenged by some rather troubling politics, let's remember that our founders foresaw hard times and gave us the tools to see them through", Nolan wrote in the letter obtained by the Star Tribune.

Hopefully the timing of this announcement in this still young election year will provide prospective candidates with ample opportunity to present themselves to voters and activists at the many party county conventions to be held over the next several months throughout our region. So I will continue always to speak out for the common-sense, progressive agenda I have spent a lifetime fighting for.

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