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Veteran Congressman Oberstar attracts five GOP challengers

Democratic Rep. James Oberstar, the transportation czar in the House who’s been representing the 8th District in northeastern Minnesota since 1975, has five Republican challengers looking for a long-shot upset in November.

Blogger Aaron Brown says this shows some aggressiveness on the part of GOP leaders in a district that they’ve all but conceded in the past:

I knew that 2008 nominee Michael Cummins from Isanti and Justin Eichorn of Grand Rapids were running, both are businesspeople, but the other three were news to me. The rest of the field includes Hibbing special education teacher Rob Farnsworth, Duluth airline pilot Chip Cravaack, and Chisago City business owner Darrel Trulson. WDIO has excerpts from a recent debate. All would constitute political outsiders and a little research shows that some of them have interesting profiles. This demonstrates more enthusiasm from GOP party regulars than has been seen recently when party bosses tried and failed to get plausible candidates to run at the last minute.

Still, the odds aren’t good, he says:

Nevertheless, the electoral math of the 8th CD remains largely the same, regardless of the national mood. Oberstar, a pro-life, pro-gun labor Democrat, has enjoyed wide victory margins in his stunning 36-year tenure. If you think this year’s GOP field is large, wait until you see the size of both DFL and Republican fields if and when Oberstar retires (a prospect that remains planted firmly on a distant, unknown horizon).

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Michael Mischke on 02/19/2010 - 02:31 pm.


    Your item on Oberstar and his GOP challengers reminded me of a breakfast meeting I once attended with Hibbing native Rudy Perpich and a dozen or so other Twin Cities journalists at the Governor’s Mansion. Rudy related the story of driving up to Duluth and points north with Michael Dukakis on a presidential campaign swing. Rudy, who knew the political landscape of Northern Minnesotan as well as anyone, advised Dukakis to refrain from pitching the Democratic Party’s platform on abortion and gun control to what would be largely a pro-life and pro-gun crowd. Dukakis ignored the advice and went over like an iron ore balloon.

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