The Potluck

Brad Finstad to be sworn into U.S. House on Friday

By: - August 11, 2022 12:14 pm

Brad Finstad won a special election for Minnesota's 1st Congressional District on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Finstad.

Republican Brad Finstad will be sworn into the U.S. House on Friday after winning a special election in Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District.

Finstad will finish out the term of the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn, who died earlier this year. A former state House representative, Finstad was also an official in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, appointed by then-President Donald Trump.

Finstad defeated Jeff Ettinger, retired CEO of Hormel Foods. Finstand also won the Republican primary in the race for the seat’s full two-year term and will again face Ettinger in November’s general election.

The 1st Congressional District spans the entirety of southern Minnesota’s border and includes Rochester, Mankato and Winona.

Political analysts said the closer-than-expected margin — Ettinger consistently beat President Joe Biden’s 2020 performance across the 1st — indicates an improving environment for Democrats going into the fall campaign. 

“There’s still time for things to snap back before November, but we’re no longer living in a political environment as pro-GOP as November 2021,” tweeted Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report

On Wednesday, Finstad appeared on Minnesota Public Radio and said if he was sworn into the U.S. House before the Inflation Reduction Act comes to a vote — which seems likely — he would cast a “nay.”

Finstad told MPR he hadn’t read all of the legislation, which includes provisions to lower prescription drug prices and historic federal investments to counter climate change.

“I would like to look into it more and read into it more, but from what I’m seeing so far right now, I don’t see how I would be voting for that,” Finstad said.

When asked if he would support certain parts of the legislation if it were broken up into separate policies, Finstad said he’s not sure since he hasn’t done enough research.

“I’m committed to a farmer mentality of rolling up my sleeves and making sure I’m a student of what’s in front of me, and that’s what I would commit to here,” Finstad said.

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Michelle Griffith
Michelle Griffith

Michelle Griffith covers Minnesota politics and policy for the Reformer, with a focus on marginalized communities. Most recently she was a reporter with The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead in North Dakota where she covered state and local government and Indigenous issues.