NOTE: This story was updated with new vote totals.
Former DFL Congressman Rick Nolan won a straw poll of DFL caucus-goers in Minnesota's 8th Congressional District.
Districts are still reporting results, but Nolan has so far picked up 1531 votes. Duluth City Council member Jeff Anderson received 991 votes. Former state Sen. Tarryl Clark received 406 votes. At least 262 voters said they were uncommitted.
I'll update with final results when they come in
(Itasca County and five precincts in Chisago County are still out). (All but roughly six precincts have reported)
"If the straw poll is any indication, and I believe it is, we are on the road to the endorsement and to victory in November," Nolan said in a statement.
The three DFL candidates are vying to win the DFL nomination and challenge GOP incumbent Rep. Chip Cravaack.
Nolan is the only candidate who says he will abide by the endorsement. Anderson hasn't said whether he'll abide by the endorsement, and Clark, who lost her first bid for Congress to GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann, said she'll abide by the endorsement but only if the process is "fair."
Though it appears she will take third place in the DFL's straw poll, Clark has raised more money than the other Democrats. In this cycle, she raised $530,000 and has $275,000 in the bank. Nolan raised $125,000 thousand, and has $35,000 in the bank. Anderson raised $74,000 for the cycle and has $13,000 thousand in the bank.
Redistricting is complicating the DFL endorsement process. A five-judge panel has been tasked with releasing a set of congressional and legislative boundaries as a result of the once-a-decade redistricting process, and the new map could change the makeup of the race.
Here's Nolan's statement:
Our campaign made a strong statement last night with a convincing win. Our message is obviously resonating because people want to matter again in Washington, and they know I will fight for them everyday. That's why people across northern Minnesota are embracing our campaign and giving us the clear momentum in this race.
As DFL'ers, we're uniting on the issues. We are determined to end wars of choice, establish universal single payer health care, protect Medicare and Social Security, re-invest in infrastructure and rebuild our economy to generate the good paying jobs we need in northern Minnesota and across the country.
For those things to happen, we now need to unite behind one Congressional candidate to defeat Chip Cravaack and take back the 8th for progressive values. If the straw poll is any indication, and I believe it is, we are on the road to the endorsement and to victory in November.
Moving forward, I am determined to unite our party and marshal the resources we're going to need to defeat Mr. Cravaack and make working families, seniors, students, small businesses and all of us in the 99 percent matter again in Washington.
Clark issued this statement after the results:
"Yesterday's caucuses marks the beginning of the election process, much like the coin flip at Sunday's Super Bowl. We have a long way to go, and I'm excited about all the volunteers and grassroots donors that are joining the campaign every day. The stakes are too high to let "politics as usual" determine the fate of Minnesota and our country. We need real leadership in Washington, leaders who will not rest until the priorities of Minnesota families are put before Wall Street and big corporations. We need someone with a track record of service to our community, and the energy and commitment to stand strong in these tough times."
Here's a statement from Anderson:
"We are very pleased with the results from last night's straw poll. With district lines still unclear, we concentrated our efforts on the heart of the current Eighth District, and our efforts were rewarded with overwhelming support in Duluth and on the Iron Range. We won St. Louis County, including Duluth, Cloquet, Chisholm, Virginia, and Aurora by two to one margins. Despite being heavily outspent, the results clearly show that the momentum is on our side. We remain confident that once we finally know what the district will look like, our message of progressive homegrown leadership will see us through to a November face off with Rep. Cravaack."
The story of the night really is that while Nolan won the outskirts, Anderson won all the big precincts, and likely has around the same number, if not more committed delegates than Nolan. This race is a toss-up with Sen. Clark and all her money bringing up a VERY distant third.