MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In 2016, the race for Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District was the fifth most expensive in the nation with outside groups and the candidates spending more than 21 million dollars.

This year, the race once again is expected to be among the most expensive in the nation. It’s also getting big attention with President Trump and Vice President Pence coming in to campaign for the Republican nominee Pete Stauber. Stauber is facing the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party nominee Joe Radinovich.

It’s very rare to have a Congressional seat switch from one party to another, but in the past eight years, Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District has flipped from Democrat to Republican to–in the last two elections–wins by Democratic Congressman Rick Nolan.

But now with Nolan retiring, it’s once again one of the most hotly contested races in the nation. The latest poll shows the race in a statistical dead heat with Radinovich up by 1 percentage point over Stauber, well within the margin of error of +/- 4.6 percent.

Radinovich is fighting back against an ad by an outside group claiming he has been convicted of 18 crimes. Almost all of those are traffic tickets, many of which he did pay late. He does have a conviction for driving after his driver’s license was revoked, and as an 18-year-old, he was also ticketed for having marijuana paraphernalia–a charge that was later dismissed under a plea deal.

That incident took place shortly after his mother was murdered by his step-grandfather in a murder-suicide. Radinovich, who is now 32, was a guest on WCCO Sunday morning.

“Like a lot of people in the 8th Congressional District, my life has been marked by some real ups and downs,” Radinovich said. “I have made some mistakes along the way and I have enjoyed successes. I take responsibility for the mistakes I have made in my life.”

Republicans fear they will almost certainly lose some Congressional seats in the midterms and that’s why they’re fighting so hard to with the 8th to preserve their current 23 seat majority in the House.

And while Democrat Rick Nolan won in 2016 by little more than 2,000 votes, President Trump won the District decisively, beating Hillary Clinton by 15 percentage points.

Esme Murphy

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