Finstad, Ettinger advance following special primary for 1st Congressional District seat

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UPDATE 5/25/22 – The results are in after ballots were cast in a special primary election to fill an open U.S. House seat in Minnesota’s First Congressional District.

The seat is open due to the death of former republican Rep. Jim Hagedorn, who died earlier this year due to cancer.

With 100% of the precincts reporting, former State Representative Brad Finstad won the GOP nomination with 38% of the vote.

He was within less than 400 votes of State Representative Jeremy Munson with 37% of the vote. However, Munson conceded Wednesday morning, and congratulated Finstad on his win.

You can read Munson’s full statement below:

“Unfortunately, last night did not go as we had hoped. It seems God has a different plan for us. This does not mean our work is done. America is the most incredible nation on earth. It is We the People who make it so great by continually fighting for a better future and defending our liberties and freedoms. We must never give up that fight.

Many of you volunteered to assist with and contributed to my campaign, and I sincerely thank each of you! Your efforts helped our message of the importance of freedom, liberty, and less government reach many people.

I would also like to express heartfelt thanks to everyone who voted for me. Thank you for believing in our message and placing faith in me with your vote.

To Brad Finstad, I would like to congratulate you on your win. I wish you and your family the best and would like to offer my support to your campaign in the race for the August special general. Conservatives must rally behind Brad to keep this seat in Republican hands, so we can fight for a better future filled with opportunities, defend our Constitutional rights, liberties, and freedoms, and turn this country around by addressing the out-of-control spending and overreaching regulations.

Finally, I would like to thank my family for their support, love, and understanding. Primaries are always difficult for everyone involved. My wife and daughters worked alongside me, running in five elections in just four years. Exiting politics brings the reward of important time with my daughters, family vacations, and lower stress.

Thank you, again! It has been such an honor to meet so many kind, thoughtful, and passionate patriots and make so many wonderful friends on this campaign.”

State Representative Jeremy Munson

Meanwhile, Jennifer Carnahan – Hagedorn’s widow – had 8% of the vote. She formally announced she had conceded from the race late Wednesday morning, issuing the following statement:

“Before Jim’s passing, I promised to fulfill his wish that I run to complete the remainder of his term. Even on the most difficult days of this campaign, that promise kept me going. I can now hold my head high knowing I kept my word to him. While it’s hard to be here without my husband tonight, I know he is with me in spirit, watching over me.

I am deeply grateful to all those who contributed their time, treasure, and talents to my campaign. It would have been an honor to serve the people of Minnesota’s First Congressional District as their Representative. But one does not need a title to serve. Leaders are not defined by titles, but by their strength of character. Having fought through the grief and adversity of the past several months, I have found reserves of strength and courage I never knew I had.

As we fight to advance and defend conservative values, I intend to continue serving as a leader within the Republican Party. Through this work, I will keep my husband’s legacy of conservative leadership alive and well. There’s still much to be done, but I know the future is bright.”

Jennifer Carnahan

DFL candidate Jeff Ettinger is also moving on – the former Hormel Foods CEO received more than 64% of the party vote. He is also the DFL endorsed candidate.

RELATED: Replacing Hagedorn full-time might take 4 elections

The DFL party also issued the following statement regarding Ettinger’s victory in the special primary:

“In just the past week, almost every Republican in Washington turned their backs on the people they serve by voting against Democratic bills to lower the price of gas and tackle the baby formula shortage, and Washington D.C. Republicans hand-picked Brad Finstad because they knew he would only do more of the same.

Representatives Stauber and Fischbach endorsed Brad Finstad because he will join them in blocking progress on important issues, all so Republicans can exploit the pain people are feeling for their political gain. Southern Minnesotans who are struggling with Putin’s fuel price hike and supply chain problems caused by the pandemic deserve better than someone who will not lift a finger to solve those problems like Brad Finstad.”

Ken Martin, Chair of the DFL Party

Finstad and Ettinger will now face off in August during a special election for the seat.

They will only be filling the seat a few months before it is up for re-election in the general election this November.

All results still need to be canvassed.

Wednesday morning, Finstad issued the following statement regarding his win:

First, we should all take time tonight to remember Congressman Jim Hagedorn. Congressman Hagedorn fought tirelessly for our conservative values and the people of southern Minnesota and I am honored that voters have given me an opportunity to continue the fight for our shared values in Congress.

I want to thank my wife, Jackie, our seven children, and our extended families for coming alongside us in this campaign. I am in this race for the future of my family, your family, and our country. I am so blessed to have their love and support.

I am honored to have the backing of voters across Southern Minnesota. Tonight’s victory is a victory for our Southern Minnesota values. The race in this special election will provide a clear contrast. I promise to fight the extreme Biden and Pelosi agenda that is devasting (sic) our families. I will work to slash inflation, get control of the border, restore American energy independence, and put our families first. Our district should not become a rubber stamp for the radical Democrat agenda that keeps kids out of classrooms, shuts small businesses down, and forces strict mandates on everyone but themselves. You have my commitment that I will bring our Southern Minnesota values to Washington, D.C. and work hard for you every single day.

– Former State Representative Brad Finstad

INITIAL STORY 5/24/22 – Ballots continue to be counted in the special primary election to fill the open U.S. House seat left vacant in the wake of Republican Rep. Jim Hagedorn’s death.

The Associated Press projected candidate Jeff Ettinger to win the Democratic primary Tuesday night ahead of the special election in Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District.

Ettinger had 63% of the vote with 73% of precincts reporting, a 50% margin over Sarah Brakebill-Hacke, who was in a distant second with 13% of ballots.

Hagedorn’s widow, former Minnesota Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan, seemed to be all but out of the running, tallying just 8% of the vote with 78% of precincts reporting. Meanwhile, frontrunners Brad Finstad and Jeremy Munson remained in a dead heat with 37% of the vote each.

Constituents will vote on who will serve the remainder of Hagedorn’s term during the Aug. 9 special election. On that same day, they’ll vote in the primary for the regular Nov. 8 midterm election.

However, the newly drawn congressional map based on the 2020 census will only apply to the regular midterm elections. That means some voters who cast ballots in the 1st Congressional District special election in August will simultaneously vote for primary candidates running for a different House seat in November.