This article suggests that the fight to be had before Rick Nolan faces Stewart Mills will be between Rick Nolan, friend of the United Mineworkers Union and Rick Nolan, steadfast friend of environmentalists like Conservation Minnesota, the Sierra Club and Friends of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness:
Northern Minnesota is known for its great fishing, so perhaps it’s fitting that tracking 8th District Congressman Rick Nolan’s position on a bill that deregulates the mining industry and fast tracks the permitting process for PolyMet is a bit like watching a fish flopping around on a dock: first he’s against it, then he’s for it and now he once again opposes it, this time promising to vote against the legislation if it “comes anywhere near close to becoming law.”
John Kerry's line that "I actually voted for it before I voted against it" comes to mind. It isn't a stretch to think that Nolan said that supported HR761 when meeting with the United Mineworkers Union. That's how Democrats typically pander to their special interest allies. That's what keeps the union PAC money flowing.
That doesn't mean environmentalists are willing to put up with Nolan's talking out of both sides of his mouth:
The reaction of the those who gathered in Bohannon Hall on that Saturday afternoon is perhaps best summed up by 32-year-old Jesse Peterson, who characterized Nolan’s responses and actions with respect to HR 761 as “incredibly deceptive and reflecting a willingness to be phony.”
Had Mr. Peterson watched Nolan's campaigns in the 1970s, he'd know that that's who Nolan's always been. Metaphorically speaking, Nolan is a leopard who's frequently changing his spots. For instance, it frequently happens when he goes from talking with the miners to talking with environmentalists or when he goes from talking with small businesses to talking with the Democrats' base.
In fact, it's virtually guaranteed that he'll change his spots in those transitions.
Eventually, Rick Nolan will face Stewart Mills. The contrast between Nolan and Mills will be stark. Nolan will be for whoever he's talking to that day. Mills will be for the same things day after day. The choice will be clear.