MINNESOTA 08 (D -- OPEN) | MN-8

Radinovich Shares Personal Struggles After CLF Attack Ads

Supporters are mixed on whether the attacks will drive or hurt turnout for the Democrat.

Sept. 25, 2018, 10:04 a.m.

Former Nolan Campaign Manager Joe Radinovich (D) "is the fourth generation of his family to grow up on the Iron Range, the mining region in a northeastern Minnesota district that presents a test for Democrats hoping to win back white, blue-collar workers." In a district that went for Trump in 2016, and that's witnessed a surge of outside money into the race, Radinovich hasn't shied away from talking about his struggles—and interactions with law enforcement—from his youth, namely his younger brother's attempted suicide while Radinovich was in high school as well as his mother's murder by his step-grandfather.

The Congressional Leadership Fund has sought to define Radinovich by his criminal record, reserving $3.7 million in ad time for spots mentioning his numerous traffic violations and other incidents from his youth.

Radinovich: "I’m not a perfect person. In the wake of tragedy, I got into a little bit of trouble. We know that if we seek to elect perfect people to Congress, we’re going to get liars. We need people with real experience who come from communities like ours who dealt with the problems that we all see."

However, some supporters expressed anxiety about whether Radinovich could win retiring Rep. Rick Nolan's (D) seat, or whether St. Louis County Commissioner Pete Stauber (R) could take the historically Democratic seat. For others, though, Radinovich's personal story—crafting "a narrative about why he sees a positive role for government in people's lives"—could drive turnout if "the attacks were backfiring." (Roll Call)

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