More than a year ago Pete Stauber launched his bid as a Republican candidate for the 8th Congressional District. At the time, he was on a path to face three-time incumbent U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan in a race that saw its margin grow thinner and thinner.
The two-time previous 8th District GOP nominee, Stewart Mills, once called Stauber a “sacrificial lamb” for the party as he declined to run again, and toyed with running after Nolan dropped out.
Stauber has been anything but a lamb in his campaign to date. And on Tuesday, Republican voters can safely send Stauber to the November ballot as one of the most likely GOP candidates to flip a congressional seat in 2018.
Stauber's Republican opponent is former Duluth School Board member Harry Welty.
The GOP has spared no expense for Stauber this summer. In June, President Donald Trump rallied supporters for the former Duluth policeman and business owner. This month, Vice President Mike Pence held a smaller-scale endorsement and fundraiser for Stauber.
Voters on the Iron Range can look to his voting record as a county commissioner of St. Louis County from Hermantown, balancing the interests of the northern and southern portions of the county, while supporting the mining industry at every turn.
While Stauber supports the president, he has said he will continue to vote in the best interests of the district, and not Trump or the party.
He’s also supported the region’s copper-nickel ambitions, standing in line with other politicians that it needs to be done with environmental soundness.
If nominated on Tuesday, Stauber will face any one of a crowded DFL field in November.
But for a safe pick and the best chance for Republicans during that general election, they should turn to Pete Stauber.