Another race to watch: Minnesota 8th District

Has Oberstar met his match?


Rep. Jim Oberstar is learning that in a year of unpredictable politics, even household names have to defend their brand.

Former Navy captain and political novice Chip Cravaack is giving the 18-term congressman his first serious challenge in years -- enough that national Republicans are openly salivating about the prospect of toppling the dean of Minnesota's congressional delegation.

"This is the first guy that's appeared against him with a hammer," said Oberstar supporter Jean Laker, tucking into an early dinner at Vaughn's restaurant in Hoyt Lakes. "The rest of them had feather pillows."

Keeping the Eighth District in DFL hands has implications across Minnesota's political spectrum. The Eighth is known for delivering big for Democrats on election night. Losing support there could upend secure seats in the Legislature and possibly even cut into support for gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton.

Cravaack, 51, brings a military mindset to his campaign. He plans to deploy 500 volunteers -- many ranked as commanders, captains or precinct lieutenants -- between now and Election Day. He tours the sprawling district in a bannered motor home dubbed "The War Wagon."

It would take seismic political change for a GOP victory in the DFL stronghold of northeastern Minnesota.

No Republican has represented the Eighth District since 1947. But Cravaack, a former Northwest Airlines pilot, has galvanized local conservatives and prodded at least some Oberstar supporters into reconsidering their vote.



  1. The issue foremost on my mind (and where I agree with Cravaack): The National Debt: "We have to stop spending money we do not have. It will be the demise of our country."

    Read his full position at the above link!

  2. Duluth News Tribune endorsed Cravaack Sunday

    The Duluth News Tribune endorsed Cravaack Sunday. It says Cravaack is what Congress needs as the country faces a difficult economy.

    The paper says Oberstar has had "enormous, life-changing and positive impacts" on the 8th District, but adds "Washington doesn't need another insider."


Any anonymous comments with links will be rejected. Please do not comment off-topic