In Minnesota’s northeast, Schultz tries again to unseat Rep. Stauber

Two people in black suits pose for a photo
A rematch is shaping up in Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District between incumbent Pete Stauber, left, and Jennifer Schultz.
Courtesy photos

Former DFL state Rep. Jen Schultz is angling for a rematch in Minnesota’s expansive 8th Congressional District, which stretches from areas just north of the Twin Cities all the way to the Canadian border. 

Schultz lost to Republican U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber by 15 points in 2022. But in kicking off a new campaign Tuesday, Schultz said this time will be different because she entered earlier than last go-round. She also pointed to her bipartisan work at Minnesota’s Capitol, where she represented part of Duluth for eight years. 

In an interview, Schultz said Stauber hasn’t done much during his three terms in Congress. 

“When he complains about border security or crime or the economy, people have to ask him, ‘What are you doing about it?’” Schultz said. “You’re in a position of power. You’re in Congress.”

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She also chided Stauber for taking credit for bills that he has voted against, citing an example just this week when the congressman celebrated a massive federal infusion into a major infrastructure project.

“He took credit for the Blatnik Bridge,” Schultz told MPR News. “Over a billion dollar investment from the Biden administration, on the Infrastructure bill that he voted against.”

Officials announced this week that the U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded nearly $1.06 billion in federal funding to replace the aging John A. Blatnik Bridge between Duluth and Superior, Wis.

Biden is set to highlight infrastructure spending when he visits Superior on Thursday. 

“Certainly I had some major problems with what was in the bill,” Stauber told MPR News in a brief interview on Monday. “But the fact of the matter is, it’s law now. And I am going to fight for every dollar, to bring every dollar back to Minnesota.”

The political leaning of the district has undergone big changes in the recent decade, going from a Democratic stronghold to one where Republicans are claiming more territory in local, state and federal elections.

Both candidates come in with money in the bank. As of early October, Stauber had $776,000 in his campaign fund; Schultz had $219,000, a sign she didn’t stop raising money since the first campaign.

Schultz said she will be using the top of the ticket as a selling point as she works to recruit supporters. Schultz calls President Joe Biden “the best president in modern history for unions and for working families.”

Stauber has endorsed former President Donald Trump in his comeback effort.

“When you have a former president saying things that he will be a dictator on day one, I have concerns and so do a lot of other Minnesotans,” Schultz said about Trump, who is the favorite for the GOP nomination. 

Stauber spoke confidently about the likely rematch against Schultz, citing his double-digit win in the 2022 midterm election.

“We’re not taking anything for granted,” Stauber said. “We beat her by 15 points last time and we’re looking to add to that this time.”