Voters in Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District once again have a tough decision to make in Tuesday’s midterm election, but with a wealth of local governing experience near the Iron Range and a diverse background, Pete Stauer is a vote well-cast for the region.
Deciding an endorsement in this race was well-debated. Joe Radinovich represents an up-and-coming leader in the district with a fresh voice and a good grasp of the issues in his time running campaigns for Congressman Rick Nolan and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.
In the end, for the Iron Range, Stauber separated himself with a steadfast support for our largest industry and employer. Stauber has a track record of backing Range taconite and copper-nickel mining from the St. Louis County Board and on the campaign trail.
Stauber’s support of the Trump administration’s decision to rescind a federal land withdrawal in the Superior National Forest is the prime example. While Radinovich is correct in saying the issue became a political football for both Trump and the Obama administration, that would have likely been reversed in January, it doesn’t change the fact it never should have happened in the final weeks of the exiting president.
Ending the withdrawal was the right move for the Iron Range. Perhaps it’s the climate rural Democrats find themselves in, but the inability for Radinovich to stand convincingly for mining makes a difference out here.
Where Stauber’s support of mining looms large for voters on the Range, they should also challenge the Republican candidate to stand more solidly on issues, even if he goes against his party leaders. Throughout the campaign, Stauber was relatively mum on solutions to the issues facing the county and district.
The former police lieutenant supported the right to organize unions, being in one himself with the Duluth Police Department.
Stauber has also said in debates that he will not cut Social Security or Medicare, but never accepted the fact Republican leaders have suggested doing so. The political climate in Washington today is not one that is quick to defy the wishes of the president or party leaders, and we encourage Stauber to stand by his beliefs in the face of that challenge, similar to the way Nolan stood toe to toe against members of his own party for PolyMet and against the land withdrawal.
The campaign for this race also brought up character issues for both candidates. Radinovich with issues over speeding and parking tickets, and a marijuana paraphernalia citation at age 18. Stauber for using his county email for political activity. These issues shouldn’t play a role in voter’s decision.
Radinovich’s life story could have been told much differently than the successful political career he is now navigating, a better litmus test of his character than traffic citations. For Stauber, his county emails proved to be nothing more than sloppy, if not inattentive, that in a less-contested race would have never been an issue in the first place.
When voters in 8th District head to the polls in two days, they can feel confident in both candidates. In the end, Stauber’s life in public service in the region makes him an appealing and possibly very effective candidate for the Iron Range, which is losing one of its greatest champions in Nolan.