Former Pro Hockey Player Turned Politician Sets Sights on Congressional Seat

From the Detroit Red Wings to Congress is the hope of one Republican candidate.

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Stauber, Nolan,
Laker Head Hockey Coach Frank Anazlone with trophy and his captains (from left) Pete Stauber, Anthony Palumbo, and Terry Hossack during 1988 Division I National Win (Image Credit: Lake Superior State University)

HERMANTOWN, Minn. — The eighth congressional district has its first Republican candidate for Congress.

Peter Stauber, a St. Louis County Commissioner, announced his bid for higher office against incumbent U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan in a press conference Monday morning.

The Hermantown local has an interesting career. Born in Duluth, Stauber played hockey while earning his Bachelors in Criminology from Lake Superior State University in Michigan.

After winning a Division I National Championship with his hockey team in 1988, he signed a multi-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings in 1990. Player stats show that Stauber never made it past the minor leagues and retired after the 1992-93 season.

His retirement from hockey led him back home to Duluth, where he became a police officer with Duluth PD.

Stauber’s foray into politics started when he ran and won a seat on Hermantown’s City Council. In 2012, he won the race to serve as St. Louis County Commissioner in the fifth district.

On top of his current duties as St. Louis County Commissioner, Stauber is an Area Commander with DPD and serves as the President of Law Enforcement Labor Services Union, Local 363.

Stauber is married to a veteran who served in Iraq, and has four children.

Running for the seat could pose a few problems for Stauber. First, he may face a primary challenger in Stewart Mills. Mills, the former Vice President for family business Mills Fleet Farm, ran twice against Nolan, losing by less than 5,000 votes.

However, a Mills primary challenge could prove a plus for Stauber. Mills lost in 2016 by less than one point in a district overrun with support for President Donald Trump. New blood could bring new life to a race that had been deemed winnable for Republicans by insiders.

Nolan has also done considerable work to bolster his image in the district, by reaching out to the Trump administration to lift sanctions on mining in Northern Minnesota. The Star Tribune reported Monday that Nolan will have a hearing in the House Subcommittee on Federal Lands Friday to see if it is possible to swap land to build the Polymet copper-nickel mine in his district – a move that could bring hundreds of jobs to the area.

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