As noted here the other day, it appears that Jim Oberstar, the 18-term Democrat who usually wins Minnesota's 8th District with more than 65% of the vote, is facing a serious challenge from Chip Cravaack, a former Navy pilot and commercial pilot for Northwest Airlines. An internal poll conducted by Public Opinions Strategies for Cravaack showed him trailing Oberstar just 42% to 45%. The AP's Martiga Lohn shares this interesting anecdote in her write-up of the race:
For the second time, a candidate forum featuring 8th Congressional District stronghold Jim Oberstar and Republican challenger Chip Cravaack has had to be rescheduled to accommodate a rapidly growing crowd.
The Oct. 19 event, sponsored by the News Tribune and the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce, is scheduled now for 8 a.m. at the auditorium at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.
It originally was scheduled in the Playground Theater at Superior Street and Lake Avenue, a theater with fewer than 100 seats. Within a day, however, more than 100 people had called in to RSVP and a decision was made to move to the Duluth Playhouse, at the Depot, which hosted Northeastern Minnesota’s only gubernatorial debate last month. By late last week, more than 100 people and counting were on a waiting list to attend at the 270-seat theater. So the decision was made today to book the DECC Auditorium. Its capacity of 2,318 should prove more than adequate.
That much interest in a debate at 8a.m. on a Tuesday morning in a rural district is pretty surprising. And it's doubtful the interest is being driven by energized Democrats.