With less than 100 days until the 2018 mid-term elections and the majority of the House of Representative up for grabs, every race is important. While polls favor many Democrats looking to win currently Republican seats across the country, things may go another direction in the 8th district of Minnesota, where Republican and former police Lieutenant Pete Stauber, is looking to flip a district that has historically voted Democrat. Police-community relationships are strained by public scrutiny over use of deadly force by law enforcement, and the most recent case of Thurman Blevins which happened not far from the 8th district sparked protests. Having a successful police veteran in congress could help repair relations.
During Pete Stauber’s 22 years in law enforcement, he served as the President of the Law Enforcement Labor Services Union, Local 363, was an Area Commander with the Duluth Police Department, and survived multiple crimes involving guns. In one instance, Stauber was wounded while off-duty when he was shot in the head by a criminal in 1995. He returned to service until he retired in 2017.
The road to running for Representative might have started when Stauber earned a visit to the White House, as a member of the national championship playing for the Lake Superior State University hockey team. There Stauber met with Ronald Reagan in his last year as president. His government service began while pulling double duty on the police force and as a City Councilor. In 2012 he became a St. Louis Country Commissioner and is currently serving in his second term in that role.
While Stauber’s views were shaped by his years as a member of law enforcement, teaching him the value and impact of community service, his signature issues in this campaign are focused on the economy in a region that has been struggling due to loss of mining business, health care costs, and the opioid epidemic. Mining has been the center of conversations with northern Minnesota who favor current President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum.
2018 Election: 8th Congressional District of Minnesota
Stauber has several advantages in his current race, having begun his campaign and fundraising several months ago while his competition won’t be decided until a primary on August 14th. Five Democrats (known in Minnesota as members of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party) are competing with each other for the opportunity to run in November. The favorite to win that primary, Joe Radinovich, a has only raised $70,469 to Stauber’s $329,172.
From Stauber’s perspective, a third advantage is his endorsement from President Trump who appeared at a rally with Stauber. The 8th District voted for President Barak Obama in 2008 and 2012, but in 2016 Trump won by 16 points. He appears to be as popular now as he was then, due to his populist messages that connect with northern Minnesotans.
Stauber has capitalized on the endorsement using the rally to raise funds and seeing a rise in volunteers before and after the rally. However Stauber is trying to show himself as his own man and not someone who will vote the party line. He told his local paper “When [Trump’s] legislative agenda helps us, I’ll be all on board. When it doesn’t, I won’t” and he has stated his support for unions.
Republicans are looking to Pete Stauber to provide some hope in what looks to be a difficult mid-term. Historically the party in power has done poorly in mid-term elections and the GOP believes that Stauber with his police service background, local ties, and commitment to supporting miners could buck that trend. As Stauber awaits his competitor, he is meeting with voters to show them why they should choose him to represent them in November. If you, or your family or friends are in the 8th district, American Police Officers Alliance urges you to participate in the election process and vote for the candidate that represents the best of public service.