House hopeful casts out fishy press release

Things are getting pretty fishy in Minnesota’s 8th congressional district race.

Former Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.), who’s aiming to reel in a Democratic primary win in August and face Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.) in the general election, recently sent out a press release blasting the lawmaker for his fishing etiquette.

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Nolan claims in the email message he invited Cravaack (we hear just a few hours before the event) to join him for the state’s fishing opener. However, Nolan writes that the bipartisan baiting wasn’t to be: “At 5 a.m., with no Chip in sight and figuring he was sleeping late somewhere in the wilds of his New Hampshire home, we set off for a great day fishing and later a dinner of fresh pan-friend walleye and home-harvested wild rice.”

But Nolan seems to fish for a bigger controversy when he puts the House freshman on the hook for what he says was a rotten-smelling and ill-timed campaign event.

“Low and behold [sic], we learned later that Chip not only made a rare weekend trip to Minnesota, but also had attempted to hold a PRESS CONFERENCE on the shores of Lake Mille Lacs. A PRESS CONFERENCE? At 5:30 on the afternoon of THE MINNESOTA FISHING OPENER?” writes Nolan.

Calling it an “outsider’s mistake,” Nolan casts out his final push for campaign donations before asking, “Wouldn’t it be great to have a congressman who understands that there’s a place for press conferences and a place for fishing — and they’re not the same place? Please contribute here, and I promise never to hold a press conference on opening day unless I’ve got a fish in one hand and a reel in the other.”

Ben Golnik, Cravaack’s campaign adviser, tells ITK in an email, “No one in Minnesota covered this story because it was a political gimmick from a struggling campaign fishing for some publicity.”