U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn dies after two-year battle with cancer

A special election will be called to fill his seat

By: - February 18, 2022 9:06 am

U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn attended the Duluth re-election rally for President Donald Trump on Sep. 30, 2020. Photo by Ricardo Lopez/Minnesota Reformer.

U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn, the Republican congressman from Minnesota’s 1st District, died after a two-year battle with cancer, his wife announced Friday morning.

Hagedorn, 59, was serving his second term. Last summer, he announced a recurrence of his kidney cancer, which he first made public in February 2020. 

It is with a broken heart, shattered spirit and overwhelming sadness I share my husband Congressman Jim Hagedorn passed away peacefully last night,” said Jennifer Carnahan, his wife and former Minnesota GOP Party chairwoman, in a Facebook post. “There was no stronger conservative in our state than my husband; and it showed in how he voted, led and fought for our country.”

Hagedorn’s death creates a vacancy to be filled through a special election called for by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz. 

Minnesota statute indicates that if a vacancy occurs more than 22 weeks but fewer than 27 weeks before the state primary, the governor has three days to call for a special election to be held on the day of the primary election, with a special primary held 11 weeks prior. 

The Minnesota primary election is scheduled for Aug. 9, 25 weeks from now. 

“Our hearts go out to his wife Jennifer and all his loved ones in this difficult time,” Minnesota GOP Chair David Hann said in a statement. “Jim lived a legacy of service to our state and our country. Please join us in praying for Jim and his loved ones in this time of sorrow.”

GOP Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller of Winona, who was a constituent of Hagedorn’s, said in a tweet that he and his wife, Janel, mourned Hagedorn’s death: “He served the district with honor and he will be greatly missed. Janel and I send our condolences to his family and friends as they mourn this loss.”

Hagedorn was first elected in 2018, winning despite a difficult national political environment for Republicans. He was facing an ethics investigation over allegations of self-dealing involving his staff and renting office space for free or far below market rent from a political donor in Mankato.

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Ricardo Lopez
Ricardo Lopez

Ricardo Lopez was a senior political reporter for the Reformer. Ricardo is not new to Minnesota politics, previously reporting on the Dayton administration and statehouse for The Star Tribune from 2014 to 2017, and the Republican National Convention in 2016. Previously, he was a staff writer at The Los Angeles Times covering the California economy. He's a Las Vegas native who has adopted Minnesota as his home state. In his spare time, he likes to run, cook and volunteer with Save-a-Bull, a Minneapolis dog rescue group.

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