Rick Nolan held a campaign event at Brainerd's Central Lakes Community College this week. The bad news for the Nolan campaign is that the event was virtually empty. If the turnout rate for women is low in the Eighth District, Congressman Nolan will have an uphill fight for re-election.
Predictably, NRCC Spokesman Tyler Houlton issued this press release after the event:
“Rick Nolan clearly has problems with voters in his district when none of them will show up to his events. Nolan’s reckless opposition to funding our military and veterans, along with his defense of a convicted child molester, only reinforces the notion that he is unfit to hold public office.”
Nolan is a retread who couldn't have gotten elected in any other district in Minnesota. He's yesterday's news. Proof that he isn't in touch with the district comes in the form of his initial tepid support for the PolyMet project. Only when his support on the Iron Range disappeared did his support for PolyMet become outwardly enthusiastic.
Part of Nolan's problem is that he's trying to walk a tightrope without a safety net underneath him. On the one side, he's attempting to appease environmentalists. If he lost their support, he'd lose this November. On the other side, he's trying to stay on the miners' good side. If there's a significant erosion in support for Nolan amongst miners, he'll lose his re-election bid.
The bad news for Nolan is that his biggest supporters, the miners and the environmentalists, hate each other. That's life in God's little acre -- east of the rock, west of the hard place. Nolan's margin for error is microscopic, as this article illustrates.
We're still 6 months from the election, which is multiple political lifetimes. Still, Nolan has to be worried that his re-election campaign isn't off to a better start.