Rep. Rick Nolan (D) announced a 2018 retirement on Friday, leaving open an Iron Range district that backed President Trump by 16 points last year.
Nolan: “It’s time for me to spend more time with my wonderful wife, Mary, our four fantastic adult children and their terrific spouses, and our 13 remarkable grandchildren. … Hopefully the timing of this announcement in this still young election year will provide prospective candidates with ample opportunity to represent themselves to voters and activists at the many party county conventions.” (Minnesota Public Radio)
Nolan just narrowly beat back challenges from perennial candidate Stewart Mills (R) in 2014 and 2016. Mills declined to run again and national Republicans recruited St. Louis County Commissioner Pete Stauber (R). Nolan also had a primary challenger, former FBI analyst Leah Phifer (D). He had been open about health issues in his family. His daughter has been battling lung cancer for more than three years.
COMMITTEES. DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Lujan: “Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District is a Democratic seat, and that certainly will not change in 2018. We look forward to electing another Democrat to represent the hardworking people of northern Minnesota, who can carry on Rick’s legacy.” (release)
NRCC Communications Director Matt Gorman.: “Rick Nolan, too liberal and out of step with his deep red district, saved us the trouble of defeating him this fall. We currently have one of the strongest recruits in the country, Pete Stauber, in the race who’s garnering strong local support.” (release)
THIRD-PARTY. The 2014 Green Party candidate Ray Sandman (I) “officially joined the Independence Party of Minnesota and is seeking the party’s endorsement. Phil Fuehrer, the Independence Party state chair, said the party was ‘very excited’ by the decision and that the endorsement would be ‘an agenda item at the next state executive committee meeting.’” Sandman ran in 2014 as a Green Party candidate, receiving 4.3 percent of the vote. The district, which is now held by Rep. Rick Nolan (D), is considered a toss-up, and is also being sought by St. Louis County Commissioner Pete Stauber (R) and FBI analyst Leah Phifer (D). (Duluth News Tribune)
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The indictment, filed in the District of Columbia, alleges that the interference began "in or around 2014," when the defendants began tracking and studying U.S. social media sites. They "created and controlled numerous Twitter accounts" and "purchased computer servers located inside the United States" to mask their identities, some of which were stolen. The interference was coordinated by election interference "specialists," and focused on the Black Lives Matter movement, immigration, and other divisive issues. "By early to mid-2016" the groups began supporting the campaign of "then-candidate Donald Trump," including by communicating with "unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign..."
"Former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates is finalizing a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller's office, indicating he's poised to cooperate in the investigation, according to sources familiar with the case. Gates has already spoken to Mueller's team about his case and has been in plea negotiations for about a month. He's had what criminal lawyers call a 'Queen for a Day' interview, in which a defendant answers any questions from the prosecutors' team, including about his own case and other potential criminal activity he witnessed."
"The Senate on Thursday rejected immigration legislation crafted by centrists in both parties after President Trump threatened to veto the bill if it made it to his desk. In a 54-45 vote, the Senate failed to advance the legislation from eight Republican, seven Democratic and one Independent senators. It needed 60 votes to overcome a procedural hurdle. "
"The House Intelligence Committee has scheduled a Thursday meeting to hear testimony from Steve Bannon—but it's an open question whether President Donald Trump's former chief strategist will even show up. The White House sent a letter to Capitol Hill late Wednesday laying out its explanation for why Trump's transition period falls under its authority to assert executive privilege, a move intended to shield Bannon from answering questions about that time period." Both Republicans and Democrats on the committee dispute the White House's theory, and have floated charging Bannon with contempt should he refuse to appear.