Tags: Barack Obama | Minnesota | congressional race | Rick Nolan | Stewart Mills

Poll: Minn. House Race Takes Sharp Swing in GOP Challenger's Favor

By    |   Friday, 17 October 2014 01:11 PM

The neck-and-neck race of incumbent first-term Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., and upstart Republican challenger Stewart Mills has seen a surprising change, according to a new poll that finds Mills leading Nolan by 8 percent.

In an Oct. 9-12 poll by KSTP-TV, Nolan drew just 39 percent as compared to Mills' 47 percent, in a race which virtually every poll had considered to be a toss-up.

"This is a shocking poll," University of Minnesota political scientist Larry Jacobs told KSTP. "Clearly, Mills is benefiting from a fundamental change in the 8th District that is trending in the Republicans' direction."

The long-haired, wealthy Mills, jokingly referred to as the "GOP's Brad Pitt," is benefiting against the more liberal Nolan, partly because of Mills' opposition to Obamacare and support for the PolyMet mining project, Minnesota's first copper-nickel mine, which has been opposed by environmental groups, in a district which has seen an increase in conservative voters due to redistricting, KSTP notes.

"Whether it's PolyMet or Obamacare, these are issues that voters care about and they're decisively breaking against Congressman Nolan," Jacobs told KSTP

Political ads in the state have turned more bitter, especially an ad from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in which repeated photos are shown of Mills smoothing down his long locks, while the announcer states, "He's running for Congress to give millionaires like himself another big tax break even as he opposed tax breaks for nearly everyone else."

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Mills responded in a a debate with Nolan, "If they want to attack me and my family for the jobs that we're created, then that's their message. Their message is picking on my hair," Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) reported.

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The race has been termed a "toss-up" by Real Clear Politics and Electionprojection.com had rated Mills with a narrow 0.7 lead.

Green Party candidate Ray Sandman, who received just 4 percent in the poll, may be drawing some liberal support away from Nolan. Mills also has a large advantage among independent voters, 58 percent to 29 percent, and while 81 percent of GOP voters backed Mills, only 78 percent of Democrats supported Nolan in the poll, KSTP reports.

Nolan has blasted Mills as an inexperienced rich kid, saying in the debate, "Our primary opponent here in this contest, Mr. Mills, has made it clear who he's for. He has said he wants more tax cuts for super-millionaires and billionaires and yet at the same time he opposes an increase in the minimum wage. The choice could not be more clear," MPR reported.

However, the drag of President Barack Obama's unpopularity and Obamacare are being felt. Mills said, "I've seen first-hand how Obamacare has affected negatively our employees and their families. And not only that, I have seen all throughout our part of Minnesota how people have been negatively impacted by it: higher premiums, higher co-pays, higher deductibles, skinnier networks. They're paying more. They're getting less."

The KSTP poll notes that 56 percent of likely voters oppose Obamacare and 55 percent support EPA approval for the PolyMet mine.

As the mid-term elections draw closer, both parties are turning on the pressure, with Minnpost.com reporting that "outside groups have spent more than $6.7 million there so far, third most among U.S. House races nationally."

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The neck-and-neck race of incumbent first-term Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., and upstart Republican challenger Stewart Mills has seen a surprising change, according to a new poll that finds Mills leading Nolan by 12 percent.
Minnesota, congressional race, Rick Nolan, Stewart Mills
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2014-11-17
Friday, 17 October 2014 01:11 PM
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