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Nolan endorses Clinton

In a show of party unity during the ongoing Democratic National Convention, Rep. Rick Nolan threw his support behind Hillary Clinton on Thursday after having previously supported Bernie Sanders during the presidential primary season.

Rick Nolan"I'm fully and confidently supporting Hillary Clinton and pleased with the display of unity we've seen from the convention," Nolan said in a phone call to the News Tribune. "Of course, I was a Sanders supporter, but the fact that she's embraced so much of what the Sanders campaign stood for makes it imperative we elect Hillary Clinton for president."

Nolan, DFL-Crosby, is not at the convention. Rather, the uncontested nature of the convention, he said, allowed him time to visit with constituents in Grand Rapids and other parts of the 8th Congressional District.

Nolan faces a second consecutive election this November against Republican challenger Stewart Mills, who responded to Nolan's support of Clinton in an email to the News Tribune, saying, "It's not surprising Congressman Nolan would break his promise as a superdelegate for Bernie Sanders and fall in line with Hillary Clinton."

Nolan, who beat Mills by 1.4 percentage points in a hotly contested 2014 election, denied betraying Sanders.

"If this was still a contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders I'd still be supporting Bernie Sanders," Nolan said. "But Hillary won and now this contest is between her and Donald Trump. Hillary is my choice."

Nolan said Sanders did well to influence the race, moving Clinton on a number of issues — including a rejection of both the President Barack Obama-negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, which Nolan believes would make for an unlevel playing field for American businesses, and Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court decision that granted corporations the right of personhood and access to spending more money on elections.

Mills pressed his criticism of Nolan's endorsement by citing the district's mining industry and history.

"Minnesotans in our part of the state didn't appreciate when Hillary said she would 'put miners out of work,'" Mills said, referencing a May controversy during which Clinton advocated for lowering the country's reliance on coal. "Congressman Nolan is once again showing how out of touch he is with voters in the 8th District who are rejecting the radical Obama-Clinton-Nolan agenda."

Nolan acknowledged his move to Clinton by saying, "She's not perfect."

"But Donald Trump is just so unpredictable," Nolan said. "He's got a strong statement on everything, but doesn't tell you where he's going with it. He's going to end violence in America in one day? I'm anxious to see that happen."