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Hagedorn ekes out victory in 1st District congressional race

November 9, 2018

Republican Jim Hagedorn and Democrat Dan Feehan ran a neck-and-neck race for the open 1st Congressional District in southern Minnesota.

With all precincts reporting, Hagedorn held onto a razor-thin lead, with 146,202 votes, or 50.13 percent. Feehan trailed with 144,891 votes, or 49.68 percent.

That difference is not small enough to trigger an automatic recount. If the Feehan camp wants a recount. it would have to pay the cost of doing it.

Under state law, an automatic recount is done when a federal candidate’s margin of victory is less than 0.25 percent.

Hagedorn is a former Treasury Department official and son of a former congressman, Tom Hagedorn. It’s Hagedorn’s fourth try for the seat.

Feehan, in his first bid for elected office, is an Iraq War veteran who was acting assistant secretary of defense for readiness in the Obama administration.

The seat became open when Democratic Rep. Tim Walz ran for governor instead of seeking re-election in the Republican-leaning district. Hagedorn lost to Walz in 2016 by a margin of less than 1 percentage point, creating a opportunity for the Republicans to flip a Democratic seat.

The 1st District race drew $13.8 million in campaign spending by outside groups.

Hagedorn, who formerly worked for the U.S. Department of Treasury, made the case that it’s time for a Republican to represent the rural district and work closely with President Donald Trump.

Feehan presented himself as a moderate, saying he wants Congress to be a check on Trump. Feehan served two combat tours of duty in Iraq before working for the Pentagon during the Obama administration.

Republican groups ran ads questioning Feehan’s patriotism and tried to link him to House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and liberal billionaire George Soros. Feehan responded with an ad of his own calling attacks on his military career disrespectful.

Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District comprises Blue Earth, Brown, Dodge, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Houston, Jackson, Le Sueur, Martin, Mower, Nicollet, Nobles, Olmsted, Rock, Steele, Waseca, Watonwan and Winona counties. Portions of Rice and Cottonwood counties are also in the 1st District.

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