The battle for the 8th congressional district is one of the most watched races in the country, and voters in northeastern Minnesota are eager to hear the candidates debate the important issues facing the 8th district. But if Chip Cravaack has his way, residents will have limited opportunity to do so.
To date, only three debates have been agreed to by both incumbent Congressman Chip Cravaack (R-MN/NH) and his DFL-endorsed challenger, former Congressman Rick Nolan of Crosby.
None of them are on the Iron Range.
Cambridge, Duluth, and even a Twin Cities television program.
But no Iron Range.
Nolan, a native of the Cuyuna Range, wants to remedy that injustice, and today called on Cravaack to agree to a debate in Virginia on Oct 25 that Debate Minnesota offered to host:
The voters of the Iron Range deserve to be a part of the discussion on the critical issues facing their community. There is a clear choice in this election. Congressman Cravaack has been all talk and no action when it comes to creating jobs and growing the industries that are so important to the working families on the Iron Range.I will fight for mining, timber and manufacturing jobs, strengthening the middle class and protecting Medicare and Social Security for future generations.
Given that Congress will be taking a two month vacation beginning next week, I see no reason why Congressman Cravaack can’t find time in his schedule for this important conversation.
Mary Underwood, director of Debate Minnesota, confirmed that the non partisan group had indeed tried to organize a debate on the Mesabi Iron Range:
Debate Minnesota tried to organize a debate in Cambridge at Anoka Ramsey Community College on October 16 and had also offered to do a debate at the technical school in Virginia on October 25th. The Nolan campaign agreed to both, the Cravaack campaign accepted the one in Cambridge but not in Virginia.
Cravaack, a native of West Virginia, has made mining a central theme in his campaign. In fact, he’s become a rather One Note Nellie, and has gone so far as to misrepresent the position of Cuyuna Range native Nolan. So why is Chip Cravaack afraid to debate Rick Nolan in the heart of the Mesabi Iron Range?
No doubt because Cravaack does not want to defend and explain his dismal record to Range voters. Obviously the campaign has decided that avoiding the debate will be less damaging than having Rick Nolan, a skilled debater, clean Chip Cravaack’s clock.
Cravaak’s Press Secretary Michael Bars was unavailable for comment.