The Potluck

Finstad appears to be the GOP nominee in 1st Congressional District, will face Ettinger

By: - May 25, 2022 9:18 am

Brad Finstad, a candidate for Congress in the 1st District, appears to have narrowly won a primary Tuesday night against a crowded field. Photo courtesy of Finstad.

Brad Finstad, state director for USDA Rural Development under former President Donald Trump, appeared to eke out a win Tuesday in the special primary election to replace the late U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn in the 1st District.

Minnesota Republicans breathed a sigh of relief, as Finstad beat more polarizing candidates state Rep. Jeremy Munson, who had been backed by far-right members of the House Freedom Caucus; and Jennifer Carnahan, who is Hagedorn’s widow and the former GOP party chair.

Former Hormel Foods CEO Jeff Ettinger won the DFL primary.

If Finstad holds on to his narrow lead, he and Ettinger — and two candidates from the marijuana legalization parties, among others — would face off in the special election, scheduled for Aug. 9. The winner will serve the remainder of Hagedorn’s term.

Confusingly for voters, that will also serve as primary day in the same southern Minnesota district, though with slightly altered boundaries due to redistricting. The winners of the Aug. 9 primary will face off in November to serve the full two-year term.

Finstad, who was endorsed by U.S. Reps. Pete Stauber and Michelle Fischbach, served three terms in the Minnesota House, and has also been executive director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association and the Center for Rural Policy & Development. He and his wife Jaclyn have seven children.

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J. Patrick Coolican
J. Patrick Coolican

J. Patrick Coolican is Editor-in-Chief of Minnesota Reformer. Previously, he was a Capitol reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune for five years, after a Knight-Wallace Fellowship at the University of Michigan and time at the Las Vegas Sun, Seattle Times and a few other stops along the way. He lives in St. Paul with his wife and two young children