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Mills is a Packer backer

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One day after announcing his candidacy for Minnesota’s 8th District congressional seat Stewart Mills III admitted to an allegiance that could be unforgivable to some and trivial to others. He’s a Green Bay Packer fan.

City Pages, a Minneapolis newspaper and website, posted a story and photos early Thursday showing the Mills Fleet Farm vice president in Green Bay Packer jersey at Lambeau Field. A link to the photos was also sent to the Brainerd Dispatch by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Mills, who is seeking the Republican endorsement for Congress, traced his Packer roots to when his father’s friend, Brainerd High School Athletic Hall of Famer Gene Bierhaus, was drafted by the Packers in the early 1940s. Bierhaus, a decorated Word War II veteran, was married to a cousin of Stewart Mills Jr.

In addition, Stewart Mills Jr. is listed on the Green Bay Packers’ website as a director emeritus on the Green Bay Packers Board of Directors. In March, 2012, the Packers and Mills Fleet Farm announced a continuation of their partnership and renewal of the company’s sponsored gate at Lambeau Field.

Here is the candidate’s statement:

“My father became a Packer fan as a kid, a long, long time before the Vikings existed. In 1941 his/our cousin Gene Bierhaus, University of Minnesota All American, was drafted by the Packers to be their quarterback; that kind of cemented it. Gene never got to play professional football for the Packers though. Instead Gene served in the U.S. Marines during World War II. The extensive wounds our cousin sustained on the battlefield of Iwo Jima prohibited a career in professional sports after the Marines. My father is also good friends with Bud Grant and went to school with him at the University of Minnesota, since and after the time of Bud being the coach of the Vikings we, as a family, have had to take turns as to who we root for. (Seriously) Half the family for the Vikes, and the other for the Packers. I have continued that tradition in my own household, my wife and two stepsons are rabid Vikings fans. I suspect my daughter is going to be a Vikings fan, but my son loves the Green and Gold. My stepdaughter could care less.”

He sent a similar statement to the Star Tribune website and the version they posted included this opening sentence from Mills.

“Oh! They caught me! Although I never tried to hide it, it would be tough to.”

Mills is seeking the seat currently held by Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., who lives in rural Crosby.

MIKE O’ROURKE, associate editor, may be reached at 855-5860 or He may be followed at

Mike O'Rourke
Mike O'Rourke began his career at the Brainerd Dispatch in 1978 as a general assignment reporter. He was named city editor in 1981 and associate editor in 1999. He covers politics and writes features and editorials.
(218) 855-5860