Nolan avoids event controversy in Duluth, cancels appearance
Minnesota’s 8th District Rep. Rick Nolan canceled his appearance at a fundraising reception Friday that had originally been paired with a concert by entertainer and convicted sex offender Peter Yarrow.
The invitation for the twin events, originally scheduled at Duluth’s Bowery Brothers Pub with the concert to follow at Sacred Heart Music Center, drew the ire of Republicans, who, earlier this month, called on Nolan to cancel the fundraiser. Yarrow, of Peter, Paul & Mary fame, admitted in 1970 to a charge of “taking immoral and improper liberties” with a 14-year-old girl in a hotel room after a concert. He spent three months in jail.
In calling for the event’s cancellation, the National Republican Congressional Committee cited a disconnect between Nolan and Minnesotans’ values.
Kendal Killian, Nolan’s campaign manager, who was in Duluth on Friday evening, said the fundraiser had been canceled “because of a scheduling conflict.”
“It had been scheduled at one time,” Killian said. “We want to move past this and talk about issues that matter.”
Killian denied Nolan canceled the event as a result of its pairing with the Yarrow concert.
“There was no association between Rick Nolan and Mr. Yarrow,” Killian said. “Our schedule changes all the time.”
Speaking earlier Friday afternoon, Nolan said he still expected to attend the fundraising event despite the challenge from the NRCC.
“I’m into forgiveness and redemption, not still trying to condemn the man,” the congressman said. “What he did was wrong and terrible, but he’s spent a lot of time redeeming himself.
“He’s done a lot of good for a lot of people.”
Friday’s scheduled fundraiser, at Duluth’s Bowery Brothers Pub, called for suggested donations of $50. The invitation announcing both events had been paid for by the Nolan For Congress Volunteer Committee.
“Rick Nolan should immediately cancel his fundraiser with a convicted child molester and apologize to his constituents,” said Tyler Q. Houlton of the NRCC in an emailed statement earlier this month.
Nolan had been insistent about the financial demarcation between the scheduled fundraiser and the concert, tickets for which had been advertised at $30.
“I’m not getting any benefit or proceeds from the event,” Nolan said Friday afternoon, specifically referring to the concert.
Nolan had started his Friday riding along with a UPS driver, delivering packages and addressing the Teamsters Local 638. Nolan’s communications director, Steve Johnson, said Nolan worked for UPS, and the union, while putting himself through college.
Meanwhile, Yarrow proceeded with the scheduled concert in front of about 100 guests in the warmly-lit church-turned-music hall. A peek inside the concert found Yarrow strumming his guitar and singing his anti-bullying song, “Don’t Laugh at Me.”