Consider Stewart Mills Minnesota Republicans' version of Governor Mark Dayton, except with better calves.
Like the state's current top DFL executive, Mills has never once worried whether there's enough money in the household checking account to pay the Xcel Energy bill. Dayton was born into department linens while Mills' inheritance was an insulated deer stand, amassed retailing poultry supplies, flannel shirts, and rifle scopes at Mills Fleet Farm, the 35-store chain founded by family in 1955.
That's a pedigree all Minnesotans can feel good about.
After last weekend's turkey hunt left him birdless, the forty-something heir and married father of five officially filed a campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission earlier this week. That means it's on, thus setting up a repeat showdown in 2016 against incumbent Rep. Rick Nolan for Minnesota's 8th congressional district, which spans from North Branch to International Falls and the entirety of the state's geographic arrowhead along Lake Superior.
Mills spent almost $2.1 million, including $360,000 of his own loot, losing the 2014 race against Nolan.
Known for his caged sound bytes and formerly fabulous flowing locks, Mills returned to his palatial Brainerd manse, edged out by a little more than one percentage point, or about 3,600 votes out of some 265,000 cast.
Round two should be an equally entertaining contest.
Mills gained notoriety during the last election for suggesting he resents being told he doesn't pay his fair share in taxes as a member of the uber rich country club.
“We donate to charity, we help with events, we do a lot of things for this community, and to be singled out as a deadbeat is personally offensive,” he said in a 2013 speech at a Crow Wing County rally.
The self-anointed "job creator and someone willing to get off the sidelines to preserve American opportunity," ironically, has never been bequeathed a Fleet Farm job beyond that of vice president of human resources. As for claims of job creation, the only jobs Mills has personally created, thus far, appear to be of the au pair variety by virtue of impregnating his wife.
The race for Minnesota's 8th congressional district is currently anticipated to be "competitive" by The Cook Political Report, an independent, non-partisan group that analyzes elections and campaigns, although it notes that the territory skews Democratic.
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