On Air
0:00
0:00
Open In Popup
MPR News

Stewart Mills to run for 8th Dist. seat

Share story

Stewart Mills
Stewart Mills, right, shakes hands with Jerry Kortesmaki, owner of London Road Rentals on June 26, 2013 in Duluth, Minn. Mills, a vice president with Mills Fleet Farm, has announced he is exploring a Congressional campaign to challenge DFL incumbent Rick Nolan in Minnesota's 8th Congressional District.
MPR Photo/Dan Kraker

Stewart Mills, the grandson of the founder of Mills Fleet Farm, is exploring a run for Congress in northeast Minnesota.

Mills kicked off his exploratory run today at a Duluth small business, where he said his campaign will focus on the economy.

"We have very high unemployment int he 8th district, and I know through my lifelong involvement in my family's business the hurdles, the barriers, and the handicaps that are placed upon us in job creation through government," Mills said.

• Rep. Rick Nolan gets new GOP challenger

A political newcomer, Mills, 41, lives in the Brainerd area and has worked in his family's business since he was 14, now as vice president. He said a campaign focused on jobs and the economy and a respect for the Constitution and the 2nd Amendment can win in the traditionally Democratic district.

"I think people are opening up their eyes and realizing the Republican party has a very big tent and I have a very different message," Mills said. "I'm a non-traditional Republican, and I think people will be attracted to that."

With his long, shoulder length locks, Mills doesn't look like a traditional politician. 

"And I'm not going to cut my hair," he said.

Mills is the first Republican to announce a campaign in the 8th District. If Mills wins the Republican nomination, he would take on DFLer Rick Nolan, who defeated Chip Cravaack last November.