Minnesota's 8th Congressional District is about an hour's drive from Minneapolis, but that isn't stopping Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak from helping some of the DFL candidates looking to challenge GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack in 2012.
Rybak is scheduled to attend a fundraiser for Duluth City Council member Jeff Anderson later this month. He also says he'll hold another event for former DFL Congressman Rick Nolan (who was elected to Congress in Minnesota's 6th District in 1974. 1976 and 1978).
"Jeff and Rick Nolan were both very active in my campaign for governor," Rybak said. "Both asked me to introduce them to some funders from the Cities where they are virtually unknown."
Rybak was careful to note that he won't be backing anyone in the race. He said Anderson, Nolan and former DFL state Sen. Tarryl Clark are all strong candidates.
"I think the people of the 8th should decide who should get picked, so I'm not going to jump into the race," Rybak said.
Democrats are optimistic that they can reclaim Minnesota's 8th District. Cravaack won an upset victory over DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar in 2010. One wild card in the potential race is the makeup of the district. Redistricting could dramatically change the state's congressional boundaries.