May 25, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Brad Finstad wins GOP primary for open Minnesota congressional seat

brad finstad
Brad Finstad. Photo courtesy of Finstad for Congress

Brad Finstad won a crowded GOP primary on Wednesday to fill an open southern Minnesota congressional seat, as Jeff Ettinger secured the DFL nomination by a wide margin, per the AP.

The big picture: Republican Rep. Jim Hagedorn died in February after a battle with kidney cancer, setting off a fierce intra-party fight for the chance to serve out the remainder of his term in Minnesota's 1st Congressional District.

  • The outcome of the August vote in the one-time swing district, which has trended Republican in recent years, could become a bellwether for November, when control of Congress is on the line.

What happened: Finstad prevailed over a field of nine GOP rivals that included Hagedorn's wife, former Minnesota Republican Party chair Jennifer Carnahan, and Jeremy Munson, a state representative who had the backing of the House Freedom Caucus and several conservative congressmen.

  • Munson conceded to Finstad on Wednesday.
  • Finstad, a former state representative and executive director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, served as the state director for USDA Rural Development under President Trump.
  • His bid was endorsed by Minnesota U.S. Reps. Michelle Fischbach and U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber, as well as a number of prominent GOP lawmakers at the State Capitol.
  • Ettinger, the former CEO of Hormel, won an eight-way contest with more than 60% of the vote.

What to watch: The special primary win is expected to make Finstad the GOP front-runner in the concurrent contest to represent a slightly redrawn district in Washington next year.

  • The primary for that race will be held the same day as the special election.
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