WASHINGTON – Eighth District Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan announced Friday that he will retire at the end of his term, giving Republicans an opportunity to pick up another Congressional seat.
Nolan shared his retirement plans in a statement posted on social media, calling the decision “agonizing.”
“There is a time and a purpose for everything and now is the time for me to pass the baton to the next generation,” Nolan wrote on Facebook.
Nolan, 74, has served in Congress twice. Nolan was first elected in 1974, representing Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District. Nolan served three terms before leaving Congress in 1980 for the private sector. Nolan then returned to Congress in 2013.
“I’m really going to miss representing the 8th District, but it is 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,” Nolan wrote on Facebook. “They have been incredibly patient and supportive. Now it’s time for me to respond in kind, and give them the attention they deserve and I want to give.”
Minnesota’s 8th District has been a target for Republicans even before Nolan announced his retirement. In 2016, now-President Donald Trump won the district by 16 percentage points over Hillary Clinton. The past two election cycles Nolan has narrowly held on to his seat in tight races against Republican Stewart Mills. Now, with an open seat, Republicans have an even greater chance of turning the district red.
Mills has previously shot down chances of running for the seat a third time. However, after news broke Friday of Nolan’s retirement, Mills changed his tune saying he is “very seriously considering” running again.
“I have received numerous calls, emails, and messages,” Mills wrote on Facebook. “I am very seriously considering another run for U.S. Congress to represent Minnesota’s 8th District.”
With Nolan’s retirement, Minnesota’s 8th District becomes the second open seat in the state that Republicans have a chance to flip. Minnesota’s 1st District will also be an open race with Rep. Tim Walz leaving Congress to run for governor.