Stewart Mills won't make 3rd run for Congress in 2018

Stewart Mills addresses supporters on election night 2016.
Republican Stewart Mills addresses supporters on election night 2016.
Jim Mone | AP file

After two unsuccessful runs against DFL U.S. Rep Rick Nolan in Minnesota's 8th congressional District, Stewart Mills on Wednesday said he would not try again in 2018 to defeat Nolan.

"I have decided not to have my name on the ballot this election cycle, this is not a cycle I feel comfortable with," said Mills in a post on Facebook. "In my study of this coming cycle, the Democrats have an impressive offensive strategy."

Mills, a member of the family that built the Mills Fleet Farm business, lost to Nolan by about 2,000 votes in 2016, even as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the district.

Mills contends that a decision by the National Republican Congressional Committee to pull ads two weeks before the election dealt a blow to his campaign from which he was unable to recover.

He also faulted national Republicans for their strategy going into 2018.

"The Republicans, in my direct and personal experience, are recruiting folks without a strategy, polling, or an explainable path to victory," he said.

St. Louis County Commissioner and Duluth Police Lt. Pete Stauber has already announced a run for the GOP nomination.

Nolan is seeking reelection as well. Democrats seized on Mills' announcement.

"Two-time failed candidate Stewart Mills III recognizes the groundswell of support for the DFL and its candidates touting an economy-first message," said 8th District DFL chair Justin Perpich. "When one of the richest, most recognizable names in Minnesota GOP politics skips an opportunity to run for Congress again and burns the national party in the process, you know the GOP is in disarray."

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