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Finstad wins GOP primary, will face DFLer Ettinger in Dist. 1 special election

The primary precedes a special election on Aug. 9, where the winner will serve the last months of Hagedorn's second term in Minnesota's 1st Congressional District.

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Minnesota state Rep. Jeremy Munson has conceded defeat to former USDA official Brad Finstad in the special primary to finish the term of the late U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn.

Munson posted a statement Wednesday morning on Facebook saying he congratulates Finstad on his victory and will support him in the Aug. 9 special election to fill Hagedorn's seat.

“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,” Munson said in the statement.

Finstad will face the winner of Tuesday's Democratic special primary, former Hormel Foods chief executive Jeff Ettinger.

Ettinger, a resident of Austin, Minnesota and Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party-endorsed, currently serves as co-chair of Governor Tim Walz’s Council on Economic Expansion, and held the title of Hormel Foods CEO until 2016. Tuesday's primary was Ettinger's first run at elected office.

Tuesday's race was held to replace Hagedorn, who died of cancer in February. The U.S. House vacancy can't be filled through a gubernatorial appointment, prompting a special election process that will play out through August.

Richard B. Reisdorf of the Legal Marijuana Now Party and Haroun McClellan of the Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party will also appear on the ballot, both running unopposed in their respective parties.

Republican Brad Finstad of New Ulm, Minnesota, has served three terms as a state representative for Brown, Redwood and Watonwan Counties, and was appointed by former President Donald Trump to serve as Minnesota's state director of USDA Rural Development in 2017. Finstand left the position following Trump's departure from the White House, briefly serving as the interim executive director for the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association.

Tuesday's primary precedes the main special election, which will be held Aug. 9, 2022. The winner of that contest will take office immediately and serve the remaining five months of Hagedorn's second term in office.

But here's where things get a little confusing.

The special election for the First Congressional District is on the same day as the statewide primary elections for all positions up for election in November. So under state election laws, the candidates in the August special election can also run at the same time in the regular election.

Because of that, voters in the First District could see the same name in two different races on Aug. 9 — the special election and regular primary election.

The First District, which has a rich history of agriculture, spans across the southern portion of Minnesota from its border with South Dakota to its border with Wisconsin. The district's major metro areas include Rochester, Mankato and Winona.

Candidates had until March 15, 2022, to file their intention to run. Here's who was on the ballot:


  • Bob "Again" Carney Jr.
  • Ken Navitsky
  • Brad Finstad
  • Jeremy Munson
  • Kevin Kocina
  • Roger Ungemach
  • Matt Benda
  • J.R. Ewing
  • Jennifer Carnahan
  • Nels Pierson

Democratic-Farmer Labor:

  • Richard W. Painter
  • George H. Kalberer
  • Sarah Brakebill-Hacke
  • Jeff Ettinger
  • Rick DeVoe
  • Warren Lee Anderson
  • James Rainwater
  • Candice Deal-Bartell

Legal Marijuana Now

  • Richard B. Reisdorf - 100%

Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis

  • Haroun McClellan - 100%

Among the extremely crowded candidate field is Hagedorn's widow and former GOP chair Jennifer Carnahan.

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