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Mills opts against 2018 run

Stewart Mills III

Former Republican candidate for Minnesota's 8th Congressional District Stewart Mills III will not run for the seat a third time in 2018, he announced Wednesday on Facebook.

In a post late Wednesday afternoon, Mills opened by thanking his supporters, but transitioned to explaining why he lost the 2016 election against incumbent Democrat Rick Nolan.

"As much as I am warmed by your unwavering support, I feel that in a way I let you down and need to explain our loss in the 2016 cycle, a loss of only 2,009 votes," Mills said.

It was evident Mills held a grudge from 2016 toward the National Republican Congressional Committee, a national GOP political group. The NRCC pulled its funding from Mills' campaign two weeks before Election Day, Mills wrote in the post.

"The NRCC succeeded in doing something the Democrats were unable to do, leave us flat footed and unable to mount a commensurate campaign," he wrote.

He went on to say the move was "inexcusable." Furthermore, candidates the NRCC is recruiting for 2018 don't stand a chance against the Democratic recruits, which included veterans and businesses executives, Mills said.

"The Republicans, in my direct and personal experience, are recruiting folks without a strategy, polling, or an explainable path to victory," Mills wrote. "In my opinion, these candidates will be the sacrificial lambs the NRCC will build their incumbent protection strategy upon. If there is a meaningful change of leadership and priorities at the NRCC, I might be open to looking at another run in the 2020 cycle."

Mills asked not to be contacted by the media, as he was focusing on other projects to be unveiled in the future. Contacted Wednesday, Mills confirmed the post but said he had no further comment.

The head of the 8th District DFL, Justin Perpich, quickly jumped on the announcement.

"When one of the richest, most recognizable names in Minnesota GOP politics skips an opportunity to run for Congress again and burns the national party in the process, you know the GOP is in disarray," Perpich wrote in a statement. "The DFL has a slate of incredible candidates at every level of the ballot in 2018, and today's statement from Mills is a testament to the strength of the DFL party."