Two years ago we endorsed then Rep. Jim Oberstar for re-election to a 19th term. We are glad we were wrong.

Today we are proud to give our endorsement in the 8th District congressional race to Republican U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack over Democratic Party challenger Rick Nolan.

We do so wholeheartedly, unlike our modest and lukewarm backing of former Congressman Oberstar in 2010. At that time Oberstar was able to cite his experience and seniority in a Democratic-controlled House as priorities for his re-election — even as he took pot shots at constituents who dared to disagree on issues such as global warming, calling them “flat-Earthers.”

Even then we were quite concerned with a sense of Democratic Party “entitlement” to the 8th District House seat, concerning it had been occupied by Oberstar and his predecessor, Rep. John Blatnik, for a combined more than 60 years.

And 8th District voters and others in several districts across the country that had a “D” in front of them determined two years ago that it was clearly time for a change in a big way — a Republican won in the 8th District with its heavy DFL-registered voter base; and the U.S. House easily flipped from Democratic Party to GOP.

No one is “entitled” to an elective office. The same holds true for incumbent Cravaack.

But the first-term congressman has more than earned our endorsement with his commitment to the 8th District on jobs, especially in the Iron Range’s No. 1 industry — mining. And, regarding the copper/nickel/precious metals initiatives in the region, he has been a stalwart public advocate for those projects, using his elective position of influence to do more than just provide lip service of support for them, but to actually get things done in a positive way.

No longer do 8th District residents have to get patted on their heads and hear “things are being done behind the scenes” on these issues, which was Oberstar’s style. We are all now a party to the debate and discussion — and that is most welcome indeed. And it also helps keep pressure, in a very supportive way, for nonferrous projects, which have been stymied by too much political indifference to government regulatory intransigence that has harbored preservationist groups and individuals at the cost of jobs on the Iron Range, revenues for the state and the mining of strategic metals for the nation.

Rep. Cravaack has not been wedded to right-wing Republican partisanship, as his opponents try to claim. He has bucked the GOP on several labor-related pieces of legislation. Does anyone really believe he would have received the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49 endorsement if he was an anti-union congressman? That political dog of a DFL worn-out campaign tactic just won’t hunt anymore.

In fact, Cravaack has worked hard and successfully on legislation in the House that deal with the very economic future of the Iron Range — whether it is a “Buy America” stipulation for steel in the Transportation Bill, or a Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness land swap measure that would provide more timber and mining opportunities on national forest land and thereby more money in the state School Trust Fund.

Yet Nolan and his supporters have tried to, in a rather bizarre fashion, label Cravaack as a congressman who is responsible in some way with the closing of the Georgia Pacific plant in Duluth and a loss of about 140 jobs. But a former worker at the facility made it clear on Friday that Cravaack battles for jobs in the district.

“While no one is pleased with the closing of the Georgia Pacific, I find it offensive that Rick Nolan is trying to score political points over people losing their jobs. I’ve discussed the closing with Chip Cravaack personally and I know Chip Cravaack will continue to fight to bring jobs back to the 8th District,” said Steve Mickelson, a Duluth Georgia-Pacific employee.

There are, of course, some usual standard differences between the Republican and Democratic candidates in education, health care, taxes and the debt that will always play into campaigns. And we do believe it is vital that the congressman not lose sight of representing a constituency that has a traditional strong leaning to the Democratic Party; while maintaining his core conservative beliefs.

And we believe Rep. Cravaack will do just that. After all, he didn’t win with a 4,000-plus vote majority based solely on GOP votes. Quite the opposite was true. There were a lot of Democrats who had grown weary and restless with the party’s higher-ups — including union leaders — in the district treating them as if they were sheep to be led to the polls and vote as instructed.

Rick Nolan is a good man who served his country from the 6th District in Congress more than three decades ago. But 8th District voters two years ago said they wanted a change in direction for the congressional seat. The election of Nolan would reverse that needed change, while also carrying with it a major concern of his true commitment to copper/nickel/precious metals mining and the potential for thousands and thousands of jobs on the Range.

Rep. Cravaack two years ago promised 8th District constituents that he would work hard for jobs in the region; would be visible and accessible; would try to bring people together on major issues by keeping those efforts public, not behind the scenes.

He grades out on all those promises with an “A.”

Rep. Cravaack definitely deserves being rehired to keep working hard for people of the vast 8th District that stretches from the Canadian border south to bump up against the northern edges of the Twin Cities.

He has proven to be the right man for a big job in a pivotal time for the 8th District.

(10) comments

OldIronRanger

Cravaack said he wants to make the 8th District the Bakken Field of mining, a reference to the area of Canada and North Dakota that has seen explosive growth in oil production. That's my greatest dream, to make Minnesota into North Dakota East. The man camps, the prostitution, this is gonna be great! All the while I will be able to cheer on my favorite NASCAR drivers sponsored by federal funds, thanks to Chip.

olyhome1
olyhome1

No, No,No, chip IS NOT for the best interests of the iron range. despite what he says he is not for us... he is for the 1%. He and his fat cat republican buddies want to do away with unions and good wages. Job creators indeed ! Just give them a chance they will show you how they intend to create those minimum wage jobs. You people would do well to remember how things were years ago and will go right back to that way if he gets his way. Anyone who would write legislation to get rid of the e.p.a is not for us. bottom line is it's more profits for mining companies and gives them a tail light warranty for the range. open the flood gates for massive water and air pollution. He is no friend of mine or my families. And to the fox parakeets... you drink the water and i hope you dont have asthma !

saunders

Sorry there ERDoc. Cravaack, in fact, supports the rank and file better than any of our politicians with the possible exception of Begich and Rukavina. He isn't as coarse as JoeB and Tommy, but he gets it and union bosses don't intimidate him. He's a big boy and seen it all before, actually, unlike many union bigwigs, he is a rather intelligent man.

ERDoc

Seriously? Seriously??? Chip Cravaack does not support workers in any situation at all. Chip supports the large multinational corporations. If his support happens to increase jobs on the Range, that is purely coincidental. Chip might have been expected to support union workers, as a former union steward, but he has betrayed his past. He votes with the Republican party under virtually all circumstances. He does not have the interests of Range citizens at heart. He is a loyal party-line Republican and can be counted on to betray Rangers whenever the interests of the 1% are at stake.

hardrockminer
hardrockminer

Hopefully intelligent, clear heads will prevail this November 6th. People need to look at the big picture and not just what "they are going to get". "Ask not what your country can do for you....etc" applies more than ever this year. Cravaak and Romney are the LEADERS we need now. We want jobs now, not welfare checks and food stamps!

LuckyMe

The old way doesn't work anymore, thank goodness!! The younger generation is alot better educated than the "Old Guard". Things change!! Get used to it!!!

ironranger6

There is no other choice.......why would anybody support voting for Nolan who will vote in lock step with Obama if he could......he will support every sierra club idea....basically turn the range into a welfare poverty zone........keep Nolan away from any position that could have an effect on the iron range!

johnwinger

I never thought I would live to see the day that the MDN would endorse
a Republican, but it's about time. Go Chip go!

John Galt

I am surprised you are not grateful you are wrong now.

$

elghund1

Chip Cravaack is hands down the best option for the 8th district for all of the reasons listed in the article. I believe that Rick Nolan is more committed to the Twin Cities & DFL environmental extremists than for developing the economic livelihood of this area. Mr. Cravaack has taken care of business for us and any development is already under much state and federal regulation, I can't see where that Mr. Nolan has made the case to change a good thing, lip service for Polymet and Twin Metals from Mr. Nolan doesn't create jobs, it drives them away from our area. The EPA is squeezing mining already, should we continue to help that process along with a vote for Mr. Nolan? Counterproductive at best when he is lined up ideologically with extremist groups such as the Sierra Club and "Friends" who are against any type of mining at all so they can feel all warm and fuzzy all over. Mining can be done environmentally safely and has been, common sense with policy left town when the Twin Cities democratic party was taken over by them. We shouldn't go back to a state of inaction that would be present with Mr. Nolan.

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