Newly elected U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., returns to Washington this week for freshman orientation sessions. Nolan will arrive with some instant seniority after serving three consecutive terms in the U.S. House from 1975 to 1981. However, Jessica Taylor, who follows Congress for the Rothenberg Political Report, told MPR "He's going to be dealing with a more polarized Congress."
Last week, DFL Nolan defeated one-term Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack.
The Cravaack-Nolan race was close throughout the campaign. The DFL party was eager to retake the seat in the socially conservative district that nonetheless has a long history of strong DFL politics. Cravaack won the seat in 2010 in a surprise upset of longtime DFL congressman Jim Oberstar.
The two clashed in debates on just about everything, from mining issues to Medicare.