Cravaack to move family to New Hampshire, risks alienating voters

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U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack plans to move his family from Minnesota to New Hampshire to be closer to his kids while in Washington, which could hurt Cravaack in 2012 by bolstering criticism that his ties to the region are light.

The freshman congressman told the Duluth News Tribune Saturday that his official residence will remain in the 8th Congressional District, although he plans to sell his house in Lindstrom and buy another in North Branch.

Cravaack’s wife, Traci, works in a medical supply business in Boston part of each week. The move will allow both parents to spend more time with their kids, Cravaack told the Mesabi Daily News. He said he plans to spend Saturdays in Minnesota and Sundays in New Hampshire.

Aaron Brown, editor of Minnesota Brown, already weighed in on some of the possible implications for Cravaack:

While Jim Oberstar was gone a lot, maybe even more than Cravaack, the image he projected was that of traditional Range politics and no one questioned his knowledge of the region. A freshman, no matter the situation, does not have that goodwill built up yet. While politics might be practiced differently than in the past, I still estimate voters in this district to be mindful of a candidate’s roots and hometown.

Throughout the 2010 race, Cravaack was characterized by some as a “packsacker” the Iron Range term for carpetbagger. Cravaack’s home in Lindstrom is at the extreme southern end of the 8th District.

Brown told the Minnesota Independent that the move might not hurt Cravaack’s 2012 chances if former state Sen. Tarryl Clark, who moved to the district to run for the seat, gets the DFL nod. But Cravaack’s move could boost the campaigns of longtime residents former U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan and Duluth Council Member Jeff Anderson.

Although the move comes with risks, Cravaack still is leaving his DFL challengers in the dust in fundraising, according to the quarterly July reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

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