Skip to main content

Stewart Mills plans another run for Congress against Rick Nolan


Businessman Stewart Mills says he is gearing up to take another shot at unseating U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan in Minnesota's 8th Congressional District in next year's election.

Mills, a Republican, said over the weekend he has set up an exploratory committee and will likely make an official announcement in mid-October, according to MPR News.

Nolan, a Democrat, defeated Mills in 2014 by less than 1.5 percentage points in one of the closest – and most expensive – congressional contests in the nation. The candidates and outside groups spent more than $12 million on the campaign, MPR News reports.

And very shortly, it will begin again.

"(I am) almost certainly running for the Eighth Congressional District," Mills said in an interview with the Northland News Center Wednesday. "We are going to pick up right where we left off."

Already, some television ads targeting Nolan have aired in the Duluth and Twin Cities markets, claiming he is soft on terrorism. The ads were paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee, according to the Northland News Center.

Nolan said this summer he intends to run for re-election next year. He also told Roll Call he's not at all surprised that Mills will be back in the race.

“He was in town, I think, last week raising money and telling people he’s going to run again,” Nolan told the publication a few days ago.

Some of the dynamics will be different this time around.

*Mills now has higher name recognition than last time around, which was his first bid for elective office.

*Mills no longer has his signature long locks. He cut his hair much shorter after a barbecue accident in July.

Roll Call notes that Mills' long hair may have turned off some conservative voters in the 8th District last time around.

*The top of the ticket is different. Two years ago there was no presidential race, but in 2016 there will be. Democrats typically turn out to vote in greater numbers in presidential election years.

*The 2nd District race, which is open due to the retirement of Republican Rep. John Kline, will likely attract more attention from the national parties than the 8th, according to MPR News.

Still, 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.

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.

Mills, 43, is vice president of his family’s business, Mills Fleet Farm based in Brainerd, which has 32 retail locations. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported he had a net worth of at least $34 million last year.

Next Up

Kirill Kaprizov

Kirill Kaprizov's slow start is a thing of the past

A potential sophomore slump has been erased with a three-point night against the Devils..

mpd aldi incident screengrab

Video shows MPD officer grab, throw Aldi customer

The department says the matter was referred to the Office of Police Conduct Review.

US Sec Defense Flickr - Joe Bide Nov 11 2021

Biden lays out wintertime plan to curb COVID's spread

It comes as the U.S. reported its second case of the omicron variant.

Willow River DOC

MN Dept. of Corrections offering $5K bonuses as it seeks to hire 200

The DOC is offering hiring bonuses for new employees and for referrals.


3rd federal medical team to join COVID-19 fight in Minnesota

There are more than 1,500 people with COVID-19 admitted to Minnesota hospitals.

hospital, emergency room

Driver killed after other motorist crosses into opposite lane

The head-on crash occurred early Thursday, just north of the Twin Cities.

shot clock

MSHSL approves shot clock for Minnesota varsity basketball

Shot clocks will be required at all varsity games beginning in 2023-24.

Redmons Popcorn Colbert screengrab

Popcorn shop featured on 'The Late Show' has to close 2 days later

A county inspection after the national TV appearance found code violations.


A Republican not named Mills is running for Rick Nolan's seat in Congress

Another Nolan/Mills rematch is still possible – but there's a new wrinkle now.