Nolan continues to ponder governor bid
Amid an effort to draft him for governor, U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., appeared bullish about the idea of running. "It's had quite a positive response, which has led me to the point where I am going to give it some serious consideration," he sa...
Amid an effort to draft him for governor, U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., appeared bullish about the idea of running.
"It's had quite a positive response, which has led me to the point where I am going to give it some serious consideration," he said Friday. "Hopefully, at any age, we're all too old for a fool's errand, so I want to assess the prospects before jumping in."
News broke Jan. 11 that Nolan was considering a bid to replace Gov. Mark Dayton, which would mean leaving his seat representing the 8th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. A little more than two weeks later, 8th District DFL chair and former Nolan staffer Justin Perpich announced the creation of a Coalition to Draft Rick Nolan For Governor. Perpich said Nolan was a bright spot for Minnesota Democrats in what otherwise had been a bleak election history recently.
"The DFL suffered a devastating defeat in rural Minnesota in three of the last four elections. Democrats have lost 35 of 58 rural seats we once held," he said. "The DFL is becoming a regional party. To win the governorship in 2018, the DFL needs a progressive who can win tough races. Rick Nolan is that candidate."
The 8th District swung for Trump in November by almost 16 points and Nolan narrowly avoided defeat at the hands of two-time Republican challenger Stewart Mills III. Accordingly, Nolan has taken a nuanced tack when it comes to supporting or opposing the new president. He's voiced support for Trump's populist ideas Nolan feels could help the Iron Range, such as Trump's opinion that oil pipelines being constructed in the U.S. should be made from American pipes. However, Nolan has strongly opposed Trump's more divisive proposals, such as the recent travel ban that temporarily barred entry to the United States for people from several Muslim-majority countries.
"I'll back him when I think he's on track and oppose him where he's not, as I have always done with all my presidents over the years, Democratic or Republican," Nolan said. "That's what more people need to do. You know, it's one thing to be a partisan during election time, it's another thing to be a partisan when trying to solve problems. That's when you have to set partisanship aside, and support the good initiatives, and oppose the bad ones."
Nolan said he felt better prepared to serve in public office than at any point before in his life, and his record backed it up. He pointed out his career spanned everything from local township board to international business to the state and federal governments.
Asked what would be the deciding factor for whether or not he would run, Nolan said it would be what sort of backing that would materialize.
"I want to weigh the kind of support that would be out there for me, and then make a decision," he said. "I think I've got several months to do that."