Our View: Schultz vs. Stauber a foregone conclusion
From the editorial: "This won’t be easy to watch by anyone fed up with the divisiveness of partisan politics."
While they both have primary opponents to dispatch on Aug. 9, stepping-down state Rep. Jen Schultz of eastern Duluth and incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber of Hermantown have long seemed destined to square off this fall in the election for Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District.
In the primary in less than three weeks, Schultz is expected to handily outdistance political newcomer John Munter of Warba, who’s retired to his hobby farm after working as a reservation sales agent for Delta Airlines. And Stauber should have no trouble getting past former teacher and Duluth School Board member Harry Welty.
Then it’s on to the main event: Election Day on Nov. 8. Schultz vs. Stauber. One as entrenched on the left as the other is on the right. This won’t be easy to watch by anyone fed up with the divisiveness of partisan politics.
Most surprising at this point, perhaps, is Schultz’s more centrist than usual and more moderate tone regarding Republicans, even if she’s pulling few punches in her assessment of Stauber — as well as Stauber’s easy and even reasonable responses to his critics’ harshest barbs.
“I decided to run for Congress a few weeks after I decided not to run again for my House seat. So those actually were independent decisions,” Schultz, also a professor of economics at the University of Minnesota Duluth, said in a June 22 interview with News Tribune Editorial Board members. “I ran because (Stauber’s) votes are not representative of the people of the district. He’s voting against the values of the people of the district. … I have only served in a divided Legislature, and I’m getting a lot done, not only in health and human services but in addressing tax loopholes and increasing revenue coming into the state. … I have an impressive record, and people wanted me to run.”
In D.C., Schultz’s priorities, she said, would include making sure everyone has access to affordable health care, increasing access to affordable child care, improving the economy with jobs diversification, affordable housing, and better broadband so more workers can locate to the 8th District while working remotely elsewhere.
At parades, community gatherings, and elsewhere in the district, Schultz has learned, she said, that people “really really want their children to be able to find jobs here, get an education here, buy a house in Northeastern Minnesota, and raise their children and grandchildren here. That is really important. So we need to be able to provide those opportunities for families to live and thrive in the district, and that means we need good schools, we need good infrastructure, and we need those job opportunities. So I’m hoping to use my background in economics to help with job diversification and to really leverage what’s happening at the federal level under President (Joe) Biden.”
Stauber, a former Duluth police officer, Hermantown city councilor, and St. Louis County Board member, had been a frequent target of Democrats even before he signed onto a lawsuit in Texas challenging the 2020 presidential election result.
“If you read the amicus brief, what it said to the Supreme Court was if you take this lawsuit, ensure that the respective state's election laws were followed. It didn’t say ‘overturn millions of votes’,” Congressman Stauber said in a July 7 interview with the Editorial Board. “What it said was (to) make sure that those states in question, that their respective election laws were followed. And yes, as President (Donald) Trump was duly elected, so was President (Joe) Biden.”
Stauber voted against the federal infrastructure bill, he said, because it was supposed to be about rebuilding the economy and more following the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic. But only about 10% of it was, he said. He had supported a different infrastructure bill along with other Republicans that, he said, wasn’t considered by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or Democrats.
“COVID was used as an excuse to push a left-wing agenda onto the country, because it couldn’t go through the regular order. It couldn't go through the process of hearings and markups and amendments and conversations,” said Stauber, a ranking Republican subcommittee member on the House Committee on Natural Resources. “I would submit to you that I have been bipartisan. But I can’t in good conscience vote for some of these things that will cause higher inflation. (I can’t) vote against our economic drivers (or) vote against copper-nickel mining. Our economic drivers and the things that I support have helped our district.”
In the weeks to come — assuming Schultz and Stauber both survive their primary challengers, as expected — the News Tribune Opinion page will feature more viewpoints from the two, side by side, on matters such as mining, the U.S. Capitol insurrection, guns, and inflation.
For now, voters can brace themselves for federal-level politics at the usually more-mellow local Northland level and for a decidedly heated race in Minnesota’s oft-chilly 8th Congressional District.
ABOUT: This News Tribune endorsement was determined solely by the newspaper’s Editorial Board.