Finstad wins special election to fill 1st District seat vacated with death of Hagedorn

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WASHINGTON — Brad Finstad, a Republican, was declared the winner in an early Wednesday special election to fill the remainder months of Jim Hagedorn’s term in the southern Minnesota 1 District Congressional District.

Finstad won by almost 5,000 votes or 52 to 48% over Democrat Jeff Ettinger. Jeff Ettinger is a former Hormel executive and has invested nearly $1 million of his money in his campaign to win the seat.

The battle between Finstad & Ettinger isn’t over. Both were elected to the primary election Tuesday in order to be eligible to represent their district in the next Congress. It will begin in January.

Finstad stated in a statement that he was humbled by the support from fellow Southern Minnesotans for their representation in Congress.

He also claimed to be a former State Representative and President Trump’s USDA appointee.

Finstad stated, “As your representative in Congress I promise to fight against the extreme Biden- and Pelosi agendas that are devasting families,”

It will be the decision of Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, when Finstad is sworn in as the newest member to the U.S. House. This most likely will happen in the coming days.

Finstad stated that he would like to vote for the Inflation Reduction Act. This huge climate and health bill will be voted upon in the U.S House on Friday. It is unlikely to win any GOP support.

Finstad must be sworn in by Democrats before Friday’s vote. This is because there are 211 Republicans in the U.S. House and 220 Democrats.

Ettinger for Congress
Jeff Ettinger

Ettinger, who was struggling with COVID-19 during the campaign’s final days, congratulated Finstad Wednesday in a statement.

Ettinger stated that “the voters of Southern Minnesota spoke.” “I want Brad Finstad to be congratulated for winning the Special Election yesterday night. Although I had hoped to share different news with you, there are many reasons to be optimistic. We won the primary, outperformed polls and pundits, and now we are moving forward in a new district.

Due to population changes based on the 2020 U.S. Census the boundaries of 1 st district have been reconfigured. Goodhue, Wabasha and other counties have been created.

Ettinger is still a favorite in November’s contest. The 1 st District was won by Trump, 54-44%.

Ettinger, who supported both Republican and Democratic candidates in the past has stated that his split with the party was caused by Trump’s election. Ettinger pledged to keep bringing the district’s message of common-sense and results-oriented representation.

Linda Hitzemann (72 years old) of Mankato said that she voted for Finstad over Ettinger at Tuesday’s election watch party at the Sleepy Eye Event Center because Democrats only want “spend and take our cash”. She and her husband Doug, who is 73, supported Jennifer Carnahan in the special election primary.

After Finstad won the primary, however, the Hitzemanns changed their loyalty to Finstad.

Finstad is expected to win November’s general elections, but the district was previously represented by Democrats, most recently by Tim Walz, who ran successfully for governor.

The Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman tweeted that Finstad’s victory over Ettinger was “not something to write home about” because it is smaller then Trump’s district margin. Wasserman stated that the results of this special election “fit a pattern of an’red wave’ ebb” which has hurt Republican congressional candidates ever since the Supreme Court overturned Roe abortion rights.


Walker Orenstein contributed to this report

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