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Duluth lieutenant joins 2018 race for Congress

Pete Stauber hugs a supporter following Monday’s news conference where he announced his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives. Steve Kuchera / Forum News Service1 / 2
Supporters greet Pete Stauber, accompanied by wife Jodi, outside of the Hermantown administrative building Monday morning for a news conference where Stauber announced his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives. Steve Kuchera / Forum News Service2 / 2

HERMANTOWN, Minn.—Flanked by more than 100 supporters, Pete Stauber launched his campaign for Minnesota's 8th Congressional District on Monday, July 10.

"Wow!" Stauber said, responding to the swell of cheers upon his introduction outside the Hermantown Public Safety Building. "It's an important day."

A Duluth police lieutenant and St. Louis County commissioner, Stauber read from a prepared statement and outlined a platform rooted in Christianity, small-town interests and the "common sense" he said was missing from Washington.

"This difficult and personal decision comes from my love for this country," the 51-year-old Hermantown resident said. "I believe my views, my convictions, my blue-collar background and my leadership experience align with the vast majority of our voters. The 8th District is my home. My intentions are not to move the country to the left or to the right, but move us all forward."

Stauber is the first Republican to announce a campaign vying for the seat held by three-time incumbent Rick Nolan, DFL-Crosby. Stauber did not address Nolan specifically or take reporters' questions, saying he was starting a busy day with a second campaign announcement later Monday in Ely. Stauber said there would be time enough later to respond to specific media queries. There are slightly fewer than 500 days until 2018's midterm elections.

After outlining a varied career in hockey, law enforcement and local governance, Stauber painted himself as a strong advocate for armed service veterans, people with special needs, the elderly and small-business owners, among others.

He was present at the podium with his wife, Jodi Stauber, and their four children. Jodi is an Iraq War veteran and retired from the local 148th Fighter Wing as Minnesota's first female Command Chief.

Audra Flanagan worked alongside Jodi with the 148th and was among the throng of well-wishers. Flanagan said she has long admired Pete Stauber and recalled his approach to his wife's past service deployment.

"Pete always spoke about the tremendous pride he had for his wife — and not the hardship he was experiencing (at home raising the family)," she said.

In a news release accompanying his announcement, Stauber said he will soon retire from the Duluth Police Department, where he's served for 22 years, and devote his time to being a county commissioner and running for office.

Without summoning the incumbent, Stauber also made a point to say the Iron Range could be mined for precious metals while also protecting the environment.

"I won't tiptoe around the fact that I support precious metals mining," he said — taking the same position as Nolan.