Rep. Rick Nolan will run for another term

It's likely to be a challenge.
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When you're a 73-year-old Democrat in an increasingly "red" district and you won your last election by a narrow margin, you might be tempted to consider hanging it up for good. 

But despite those considerations, Minnesota Congressman Rick Nolan is running for another term, he announced on Thursday. 

“It’ll be a tough race. It always is. But I’m up for it,” the longtime Democratic lawmaker tells the Pioneer Press.

And he's probably right about that – it will be tough, judging by the 2016 election, and the changing political makeup of the 8th District.

Nolan won the district (which covers northeastern Minnesota, including Duluth and much of the Iron Range) by just 2,009 votes in November. And as the Pioneer Press observes, voters there backed Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton by a significant margin, flouting their history of supporting Democrats. 

“The district has shifted a lot,” Nolan admitted to the paper. 

So why bother running again?

One reason Nolan is running for a seventh term, according to the Brainerd Dispatch, is a "recent series of congressional town hall meetings" that "encouraged him to think" he can win in 2018. 

But in some ways, Nolan, arguably an old-school conservative Democrat, could be considered quite suited for such a complex district. 

For one, he's broken with his party in his backing of controversial mining projects, oil pipelines, and in his willingness to work with – and even praise – President Trump. 

And yet he's got solid Democratic credentials. 

As the Dispatch notes, Nolan sees solid support in his district for the types of causes he champions – including fighting "Republican-proposed budgets that slash things like health care, Great Lakes restoration and the Environmental Protection Agency."

And even though it's more than a year away, the election in the 8th is already shaping up. 

Republican Pete Stauber, a member of the St. Louis County Board of Commissioners, officially announced his candidacy last month, and there's still a possibility that Stewart Mills could run against Nolan for a third time. 

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