Stewart Mills makes it official, will run against Rep. Rick Nolan in 2016

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Voters across the Iron Range and up through northeast Minnesota have two official candidates for the 2016 U.S. House elections.

And you've seen their names on the ballot before.

Stewart Mills announced this week he's running for U.S. Congress representing Minnesota's 8th Congressional District.

The 43-year-old, who lives with his wife and kids in the Brainerd Lakes area, ran as the Republican candidate in the 2014 election, and lost by 3,732 votes – less than 1.5 percentage points.

Who'd he lose to?

The only other candidate officially in the race at this point: DFL Rep. Rick Nolan, who over the summer said he'd be seeking re-election in 2016, Minnesota Brown reported.

 Minnesota 8th Congressional District. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Minnesota 8th Congressional District. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

“In 2014, I decided it was time to stop talking about the problems facing our country and start doing something to solve them," Mills said in the announcement. "I intend to finish what I started, and look forward to working for the people of the 8th District.”

His decision isn't a surprise – he openly spoke about his intentions weeks ago.

Both Mills and Nolan have filed a "Statement of Candidacy" form with the Federal Elections Commission (Mills' was sent in last week).

So at this early moment, it's Mills v. Nolan the sequel (plus write-ins of course).

Given Nolan’s close call in 2014, he is a member of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Frontline Program which focuses on its most vulnerable incumbents.

The general election is Nov. 8, 2016 – that'll include all U.S representatives, the presidential race, plus state representatives and state senators.

Mills and Nolan policies

Nolan, 71, is in his second term in this chapter of his congressional career, but he previously served in the House in Minnesota’s 6th District from 1975 to 1981.

According to Ballotpedia and OnTheIssues, his voting and public statement record puts him into the left/liberal area of the political spectrum. He's publicly talked about policies such as:

  • Higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans
  • More restrictive gun control
  • Opposition of military expansion and entering Iran
  • Expansion of the Affordable Care Act

Mills meanwhile is vice president of his family’s business, Mills Fleet Farm based in Brainerd, which has 32 retail locations.

Ballotpedia and OnTheIssues don't have a full profile for Mills, since he's never held office and is new to the scene.

But he's previously come out very strongly in support of gun owners' rights, and earned the endorsement of the Minnesota Gun Owners PAC, Ballotpedia says. He's also talked about federal policies getting in the way of using "natural resources" in industries such as timber and mining; his opposition to the Affordable Care act; and government spending.

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