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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Autism in a Minnsesota House Race

Previous posts have described how autism has become an issue in House and Senate races.  The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports:
One of Minnesota's toughest congressional races became deeply personal Thursday, with Republican freshman Rep. Chip Cravaack disclosing that his son's autism played a central part in the controversial decision of his wife and two young sons to move to New Hampshire to be closer to her job.
Cravaack and DFL [Democrat-Farmer-Labor] challenger Rick Nolan have been sparring in recent days over two television ads that claim Cravaack no longer lives in Minnesota. Cravaack, who maintains a home in North Branch, says Nolan's claim is a blatant lie.
A DFL ad saying that Cravaack "doesn't even live in Minnesota any more" was pulled from at least one Duluth television station at the Cravaack campaign's request. Another ad remains on the air in which Nolan says that Cravaack is "not from here and he doesn't live here any more."
Cravaack, down in the polls in a DFL-leaning district in northern Minnesota, has been demanding that Nolan pull the ad, but Nolan's campaign has refused, noting that Cravaack criticized former U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar's D.C.-area residence when he ran against him in 2010.
Injecting autism into the debate has heightened sensitivities in a dispute that was already personal for the 52-year-old former airline pilot and his wife, Traci, whose job as an executive at the Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk frequently takes her to Boston.
Cravaack said he has now decided to talk publicly about his son's condition because the DFL is "making my family an issue." A campaign aide described the child's autism as a mild to moderate condition that requires a structured environment. "When Chip was a stay-at-home dad, he spent a lot of time at the local public school with Nick, helping him out," said the aide, Ben Golnik.