Most, but not all, 1st District voters will vote twice on Aug. 9 to decide who will represent them in Congress


WASHINGTON — When voters go to the polls in Minnesota’s 1 District, they may receive one of the most confusing ballots they will ever have to fill out.

The majority will be given a ballot which gives them the option to choose between Republican Brad Finstad or Democrat Jeff Ettinger for the remainder of Jim Hagedorn’s term. He died in February. Voters will be asked to choose from several candidates for November’s general elections. This will determine who will represent their district in the next Congress. It will be sworn in in January.

Ettinger and James Rainwater are the Democratic choices, while Finstad or Munson are the Republican options. Two candidates representing the state’s marijuana legalization party are also on the ballot.

The 1 st district stretches along southern Minnesota’s border with Iowa. It includes Rochester, Austin, and Mankato. Some voters will not be allowed to vote in the special election if they live in the area of the district that was removed this year due to redistricting. Only those who reside in the districts of Goodhue or Wabasha counties, as a result of the boundary changes, will be allowed to vote in the primary.

But don’t panic. But that’s not all.

Munson, who narrowly lost May’s primary to Finstad for the special electoral election, hopes his former GOP opponent wins the election. He plans to vote for him in order to help keep the seat in Republican hands. Munson doesn’t think Finstad should be in the seat for more than four months after Hagedorn’s term ends.

Jeremy Munson Facebook Page
Jeremy Munson campaigns in the Hesper Mabel Steam Engine Days Parade in Preston, earlier this year.

Munson, 46 years old, is a state representative and lives on a Lake Crystal farm. He is running to Finstad’s right and would appreciate a Trump endorsement. He claims that if he had served in Congress, he wouldn’t have certified President Joe Biden’s win in 2020. Finstad stated that he would vote to certify Biden’s win.

Munson stated, “We are aligned to supporters of Trump.”

The Minnesota Republican Party has sharply criticised Munson for his continued challenge to Finstad. Munson insists that the special election as well as the primary election for the general election, are two separate elections in two different districts. Munson also stated that he had conceded to Finstad during the special election but never said he would not run again for Congress.

David Fitzsimmons, spokesperson for Finstad, stated that the candidate is focusing on defeating Ettinger and not Munson.

Finstad, 46, was unable to be interviewed but sent an email saying that the “sticker shock” experienced by Americans due to liberal policies promoted by Biden, Pelosi. It included record-breaking price increases for food and gas and other basic necessities.

Finstad stated in an email that “Bringing down inflation will be my number 1 priority in Congress.”

Munson stated that both the Republicans and Democrats are to blame for this year’s rise in inflation. Finstad blames this increase on inflation on Congress Democrats and Biden.

He is running a stealth campaign to promote himself to his supporters as well as those who supported other GOP candidates in the May primary for the special elections through email and social media.

Ettinger for Congress
Right, Jeff Ettinger campaigning for the Bavarian Blast parade at New Ulm this month.

Ettinger’s campaign is more prominent. It currently runs an ad called Robots, which is designed to win over independent voters as well as disaffected Republicans.

Ettinger states in the ad that “the last thing we need” is a career politician who’s more interested blindly following their party’s agenda than working for Southern Minnesota results.

He said that it was time for both congressional leaders – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–CA), Rep. Kevin McCarthy R–CA), Sen. Chuck Schumer(D-NY) and Sen. Mitch McConnell, (R-KY), to step aside and make way for new leaders who are dedicated to getting things done and not playing politics in Washington.

Ettinger is a former Hormel executive and lives in Austin. He has contributed at least $400,000 and loaned another $500,000 to his campaign. The district was represented before by Democrats, most recently by Tim Walz before he ran for governor.

Ettinger stated, “I believe this is a purple area.”

Ettinger, who had supported Republican in the past has now joined the Democratic Party.

He said, “To me, Trump was a dividing line.”

Ettinger, 63 years old, is a moderate Democrat. Ettinger said that he would join the “Problem Solvers Caucus”, a bipartisan group composed of centrists, if he is elected. He also said that he doesn’t need the support of national Democrats in order to run for office.

He said, “As far people who aren’t from Minnesota, I don’t support that.”

He stated that he would work to make community college education affordable, and vote to codify Roe.v. Wade, if elected. Munson and Finstad both support the Supreme Court’s reversal of this historic decision.

Ettinger stated that Congress has a 20% approval rating. It’s broken. Ettinger said that Finstad is not in a place to act as a change agent. I believe I have a more holistic approach.

Ettinger stated that even if he loses Aug. 9’s special election, he is confident he will win the Democratic primary and fight for the seat. He can also continue to contribute his own money if necessary.

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