Jim Oberstar, who lost his congressional seat in one of the big national political surprises of 2010, on Monday endorsed former Congressman Rick Nolan in the 8th District race as DFLers scramble to win back the traditionally blue district.
Nolan has the DFL endorsement but faces primary challenges from Duluth City Council Member Jeff Anderson and former state Sen. Tarryl Clark. Anderson and Clark each have their own supporters, but Nolan has the backing of many main-line party regulars and labor groups.
Oberstar served 18 terms in Congress and rose to be a national leader, particularly on transportation issues. He was upset by rookie GOP candidate Chip Cravaack two years ago. State and national Democratic leaders have said they will work hard to regain the seat, but the primary fight will sap some of the party’s energy and money.
In Chisholm Monday morning, Oberstar said:
“We can’t take America back for the middle class and those who are struggling to get ahead until we take back the House of Representatives. And we can’t take back the House without taking back the Fighting 8th District. Rick Nolan will take back the Fighting 8th if we unite together as never before, and unite now, to defeat Chip Cravaack in the fall.”