For weeks, we’ve been hearing that Congressman Jim Oberstar is facing a tighter race than usual in his bid for an 18th term in the 8th District in northeastern Minnesota.
It seemed to start with an internal poll released in early October by his GOP challenger Chip Cravaack, a former pilot making his first run for office. Oberstar dismissed that poll, saying it was paid for by his opponent.
But this week there’s been additional national attention to the apparent tightening of the race, with the Cook Report moving the race from Safe Democrat into Leaning Democrat.
And Politico put the race in it’s Daily Top Ten House races Wednesday, saying:
Rep. Jim Oberstar — elected to the House in 1974 — was heckled and booed at a debate Monday night in Duluth. The Transportation Committee chairman won reelection in 2008 with 60 percent of the vote, but on Tuesday, Charlie Cook was more bearish, moving the race from “likely Democratic” to “lean Democratic.” Oberstar has struggled to raise money from his hometown crowd: Between July and September, he had just one donor from his district who gave more than $200.
Politico had another story this week about Oberstar’s out-of-district fundraising, noting that he’d raised at least $65,900 in the past two years from Texas Democrat Solomon Ortiz’s impoverished Mexican-border district, which is nearly double the amount Oberstar has collected from his own constituents in the same time period.
In that story, it said:
“…Oberstar is now locked in a surprisingly competitive race against a little-known challenger, Chip Cravaack, having surfaced on the radar screen as one of a growing number of committee chairmen who find themselves in electoral jeopardy at the tail end of a tumultuous political cycle.”
The two candidates had a raucous debate Tuesday in Duluth and have another debate scheduled Friday night at Itasca Community College in Grand Rapids.