Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack went on the attack Monday, criticizing his Democratic opponent Rick Nolan for a “checkered” business history as the race for Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District tightens.
Cravaack spent a brief time at morning St. Paul news conference talking about his own record and goals for creating economic growth in the northeastern congressional district before pivoting into a researched attack of Nolan’s business difficulties two decades ago.
That includes a personal bankruptcy filing in the late 1980s for Nolan’s failed U.S. Export Corp., and the well documented problems during Nolan’s tenure leading Gov. Rudy Perpich’s Minnesota World Trade Center (WTC) Corp. Nolan’s business troubles occurred after he served three terms in Congress in the mid 1970s and early 1980s.
While mentioning his own support for northern Minnesota mining projects like PolyMet and Twin Metals, Cravaack said his opponent has “sided with Twin Cities-based environmental groups” over local projects.
“My opponent believes in an antiquated model of governance – a big government model of a bygone era. As he attempts to re-cast his checkered leadership history of neglect, deficit, and decline at the expense of Minnesota taxpayers, make no mistake that shrouded in his campaign rhetoric are some inconvenient truths the former congressman would rather not talk about,” Cravaack said. “Congressman Nolan continues to tout a jobs record that was far from successful – in fact it was a disaster. My opponent’s record in business and as a civic leader is one of mistrust and failed opportunity.”
When asked why he was bringing up Nolan’s business failures this late in the campaign season, Cravaack said Nolan repeatedly brings up his business bona fides in debates, leaving them open to a fact check. Cravaack says Nolan has tried to “recast” his record as he looks to return to Congress.
The 8th District race has become one of the most expensive in the nation, with outside groups recently topping more than $4 million in independent ad buys and other expenditures. A poll conducted by KSTP/SurveyUSA last week showed Nolan and Cravaack in a dead heat, with Nolan earning a statistically insignificant 1-point lead. In all, about 9 percent of voters surveyed said they are still undecided on who they’ll vote for.