Updated: 11/07/2012 5:33 PM KSTP.com By: Naomi Pescovitz
It was a race that captured national attention and money. Early Wednesday morning in Minnesota's 8th district, Rick Nolan defeated incumbent republican Representative Chip Cravaack.
Nolan spent the last five days campaigning hard in an RV.
"Going up and down main streets, shaking hands, and saying hello, and asking for votes," Nolan said.
It paid off.
"You don't go into the government, and politics to be remembered well, but I have to admit, it feels pretty good," Nolan said in a speech to supporters early Wednesday morning at the Brainerd Hotel and Conference Center.
A seat, once held by democrats for more than 60 years, abruptly switched hands after the 2010 election when Cravaack upset U.S. Representative Jim Oberstar. But Nolan believes the 8th district still has its roots.
"It's still primarily a natural resource based economy that involves mining, forestry, agriculture," Nolan said.
There is also political movement, which Nolan believes is a good thing.
"I think, more and more people are more and more independent, then what they've ever been in the past, and I think that's a trend that is going to continue. But obviously a republican or a democrat can win in this district," Nolan said.
Groups on both sides paid millions of dollars to hold onto the 8th district seat. Nolan says campaign finance reform is at the top of his to-do list once he's back.
"Everybody is campaigning and nobody is governing and that is causing irreparable harm and damage to the country and we've got to fix that," Nolan said.