Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.) said Friday he won’t seek reelection this year, a blow to Democrats’ chances at holding his battleground seat in November. Nolan, 74, was first elected to Congress in the Watergate midterm election of 1974. After serving three terms in the House, he retired ahead of the 1980 elections.
Nolan surprised many when he announced he would mount a comeback in the 2012 elections. He defeated then-freshman Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.) by 9 percentage points.
While Nolan’s Iron Range district has been traditionally Democratic territory — former President Barack Obama won 53 percent of the vote there in 2008 and 52 percent in 2012 — it swung heavily toward President Donald Trump in 2016. Trump carried it by a wide margin, 54 percent to 39 percent, over Hillary Clinton.