ST. PAUL Minn. (AP) – Democratic state Rep. Jen Schultz of Duluth entered the congressional race in northeast Minnesota on Monday, giving her party a credible challenger to Republican incumbent Pete Stauber in a district that tends towards the GOP.
After making the announcement in Virginia and Duluth, Schultz headed to the state Capitol, where about 20 Democratic lawmakers joined her in a show of support, including House Speaker Melissa. Hortman, of Brooklyn Park, who touted his record to get things done.
“Unfortunately, Pete Stauber, our current congressman in the 8th, hasn’t done anything good for Minnesota or the 8th congressional district,” Schultz told reporters. She specifically blamed him for voting against President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill and supporting an unsuccessful lawsuit in Texas to invalidate Biden’s election victory.
While Stauber has long described himself as a champion of northeastern Minnesota’s mining industry, Schultz said that was just a “talking memory.”
She said she supports miners and the mining industry, adding: ‘I support good union jobs and believe we can have both mining and the environmental protections we need to protect the region. for future generations.”
Schultz is a professor of health care economics at the University of Minnesota Duluth serving her fourth term at Minnesota House, where she chairs the Human Services Committee.
“Jen has a history of success in our divided and sometimes partisan legislature,” Hortman said, citing her record on health care, drug prices and protections for the elderly.
Schultz told reporters she had no plans to run for Congress when she announced three weeks ago that she would not seek another legislative term, but was then inundated with appeals from Iron Range voters, farmers and union activists urging her to challenge Stauber.
While the 8th District was historically a Democratic stronghold, it has had a Republican streak in recent elections as the GOP gained blue-collar support on the Iron Chain and the district expanded south to cities. binoculars. Former President Donald Trump won by just over 15 points in 2016 and just under 15 in 2020. Stauber won by 5.5 points in 2018 and 19 points in 2020.
The redistricting plan drawn up by the state court pushed the district westward, but did little to change the political balance, although it now included all eight Ojibway reservations in the state.
Former U.S. Representative Rick Nolan, who represented the 8th from 2013 to 2019, endorsed Schultz.
Progressive activist Ernest Joseph Oppegaard-Peltier III, of Bemidji, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa in North Dakota, is also seeking nomination as a Democrat.
Republicans have made it clear that they plan to tie Schultz to Biden and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“Forced to endure soaring inflation, record gas prices and anti-mining policies that kill jobs in the Iron Range, voters in Minnesota’s 8th congressional district are not interested in sending Jennifer Schultz in Washington to be another rubber stamp for Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden, Republican National Committee spokeswoman Preya Samsundar said in a statement.