Incoming Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.) has picked one of his 2012 primary rivals to be his district director, naming former Duluth City Council member Jeff Anderson to run his district offices.

The unusual decision to hire a former political rival was announced earlier this week and becomes official Thursday, when the new Congress is sworn in.

Nolan, who is returning to Congress after a nearly 30-year hiatus, defeated Anderson and another Democrat for the nomination in August and went on to beat outgoing Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.) in the general election by a comfortable margin.