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Posted at 2 p.m. on June 10, 2013
Just the name, Stewart Mills III, sounds like a stereotypical Republican, but the shoulder-length hair is evidence that he might be a different type of GOP candidate.
Mills is seriously considering challenging Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan in Minnesota’s 8th District, a large geographic district that includes The Iron Range. If he decides to run, as most observers expect, Mills will be a stark contrast to the 69-year-old congressman who is serving his first term after his first tenure in Congress in the late 1970s.
According to one local Democratic source, Mills has “Brad Pitt kind of appeal” but shouldn’t be dismissed because of his looks. He also has the potential to raise money from conservatives across the country. His YouTube video (see below), “Duck Hunting Shotgun Proven to Be more Dangerous Than a Huldra AR-15,” has more than 270,000 views. The video was an open letter to Nolan and both Minnesota senators, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken.
His profile could resonate well with the district. Mills, 40, worked his way up in the family business, Mills Fleet Farm, and is now CEO of the company, which includes more than 30 retail stores with wide-ranging offerings including farm supplies, sporting goods, home and garden supplies, and in some cases a gas station and an indoor shooting and archery range.
Unseating Nolan won’t be easy. He defeated GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack by almost 10 points in a district that President Barack Obama won twice and John Kerry won with about 52 percent in presidential elections. But Cravaack was consistently plagued by stories about his family’s move to New Hampshire, and he didn’t have the same local ties as Mills.
It remains to be seen how Mills performs as a candidate, but this looks like a district Democrats may not be able to take for granted.
Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call currently rates the race as Safe for the Democrats — pending a final decision from Mills.