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Jim Hagedorn’s widow, Jennifer Carnahan, announces run for his open House seat

FIRST ON FOX: Jennifer Carnahan, widow of the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn, R-Minn., announced Monday that she will run in the special election for her late husband’s seat in the House of Representatives.

“I am proud to announce my candidacy to represent Minnesota’s First Congressional District. Though my heart is still heavy after Jim’s passing, the encouragement I have received from throughout southern Minnesota has inspired me to carry on his legacy by running to complete the remainder of his term,” Carnahan wrote in a news release first provided to Fox News Digital. 

“In the final weeks before his passing, Jim told me to keep forging ahead, to keep reaching my dreams, and to win this seat,” Carnahan added. “Jim was my best friend and the love of my life, and it is his blessing that strengthens me for the challenges ahead. I am committed to continuing my husband’s legacy of fighting to secure the border, defending conservative values, safeguarding the integrity of our elections, and serving the people of Minnesota’s First Congressional District.”


Carnahan became the first Asian American woman elected to run either major party in Minnesota, serving as the state’s Republican Party chair from 2017-2021. Under her leadership, the Minnesota GOP paid off $1 million in debt and flipped three House seats – Minnesota’s 1st and 8th Congressional Districts in 2018 and the 7th congressional district in 2020 – from blue to red. Hagedorn represented the 1st Congressional District from 2019 to 2022.

“During the Trump administration we saw economic and regulatory reform, US energy independence, trade deals like the USMCA – initiatives that created jobs and provided opportunity to people across the country – including right here in southern Minnesota,” Carnahan added. “Jim and I saw the rest of President Trump’s conservative vision stonewalled by the left and some in the Washington establishment. While DC insiders are lining their pockets; hard working Minnesotans are languishing beneath record inflation, a lawless border and higher input costs for agriculture, impacting all of America.”

“I am running to disrupt the status quo and get Washington working for the people again,” she said. 

President Donald Trump talks with Minnesota 1st Congressional district Republican nominee Jim Hagedorn as the president arrives at Minneapolis – Saint Paul International Airport for nearby fundraising and campaigning in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Oct. 4, 2018.

“Like President Trump, I am a businesswoman and fighter,” Carnahan declared. “Here in Minnesota, I disrupted the status quo and brought the Republican Party back to relevance. Now, I ask for the support of southern Minnesota to do the same in Washington.”

Hagedorn died on Feb. 17, 2022, after getting admitted to the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota, amid a yearslong battle with kidney cancer and after a positive COVID-19 test. He had taken the COVID-19 vaccine. 


Carnahan resigned as party chair after a federal grand jury indicted prominent Republican fundraiser and podcast co-host Anton Lazzaro on child sex trafficking charges In Aug. 2021. Carnahan condemned Lazzaro and pledged to donate to charity all funds he had given her. 

Rep.-elect Jim Hagedorn, R-Minn., is seen after the freshman class photo on the East Front of the Capitol on Nov. 14, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The special election primary for the 1st Congressional District will take place on May 24, 2022, with the special general election on Aug. 9, 2022, according to the Minnesota Secretary of State. The primary for the 2022 midterms will also take place on Aug. 9, with the general election on Nov. 8.

No fewer than seven Republicans have entered the race, including one former state representative and two current state representatives. Five candidates have entered the Democratic Farmer Labor Party primary, including Richard Painter, a former White House ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush, and Jeffrey Ettinger, former CEO of Hormel Foods.

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