Stewart Mills III was just 2,072 votes from winning the 8th District congressional seat in 2016 – closing the gap from two years before but not doing enough to dislodge Democrat Rep. Rick Nolan.
Fast-forward to this week and Nolan has shocked Democrats by announcing his retirement, putting the 8th District right back into play and giving Mills a difficult question to answer.
In November, the grandson of Mills Fleet Farm founder Stewart Mills Sr. said he wouldn't challenge Nolan for a third time (he also lost a close race in 2014).
He cited dissatisfaction with the lack of support he received from the National Republican Congressional Committee, which he said pulled its funding of his race shortly before the 2016 election, leaving him to dig into his own pocket to fund media ad buys.
But as the news of Nolan filtered down, Mills said on Twitter that he's seriously mulling jumping back into the race after all.
Nolan says he's stepping down to spend more time for his family, and it could prove to be the right time for him to exit the district and still leave it in Democratic hands, given a "blue wave" of Democratic wins are predicted for this year's mid-terms.
He was already facing a primary challenge from Leah Phifer, a native of Two Harbors who is a former FBI counterterrorism analyst, with more challengers expected to emerge.
But there remains hope for Mills given how close previous races have proved and the diverse political views that exist within the 8th District.
Give it's one of the most fiercely competitive seats in the nation, Mills will unlikely want for funding this time round, as national Republicans see a real chance to turn the seat red.
In a year in which Nolan was otherwise expected to hold the seat reasonably comfortably, it looks as though the 8th District will be one of the most highly-scrutinized races once again.