Eighteen-term Democratic congressman Jim Oberstar usually wins his "Iron Range"-based Minnesota House seat with more than 65% of the vote, but a new SurveyUSA poll shows him leading Republican Chip Cravaack--a former Navy pilot and Northwest Airlines pilot--by just 1 point.
We've been noting that there have been a lot of warning signs that Oberstar could be in trouble in this normally safe Democratic district: first, an internal Cravaack poll showed a tight race, and he'd angered constituents by voting for cap-and-trade and Obamacare (Oberstar, the former co-chair of the House pro-life caucus, reneged on a pledge to vote against Obamacare if it lacked the House's language prohibiting abortion funding). Then one union nearly voted to endorse Cravaack, and a debate on Tuesday morning at 8a.m. had to be moved to a larger venue due to high voter interest--interest fueled by Republicans and/or Oberstar opponents. The Cook Political Report moved the race from "solid" Democrat in early October, to "likely" Democrat on October 12, and then "leans" Democratic on October 20.
Now, an independent poll confirms that this race is, in all likelihood, a tossup. Kerry and Obama only took the district with 53% of the vote in their respective elections, so the district really isn't that strongly Democratic. Keep an eye on Minnesota's 8th Congressional District on Tuesday night.