A Blue Earth resident and native son pulled off the biggest upset of the Primary Election last Tuesday night.
Jim Hagedorn defeated Aaron Miller, of Byron, who was the endorsed Republican candidate in the contest to select who will face U.S. Congressman Tim Walz in the General Election this fall.
The victory came as a shock to some people in the First Congressional District, but not to Hagedorn himself.
"I thought we did a good effort with our strategy to engage voters in the rural areas," Hagedorn said in an interview with the Faribault County Register on Wednesday morning. "We talked about the issues affecting rural Minnesotans."
Hagedorn says the numbers show strong support west of I-35, in counties like Faribault, Martin, Watonwan, Jackson and Nobles.
"I had a large enough lead in those areas to carry through and win," Hagedorn adds. In fact, the candidate from Blue Earth led all night long as returns came in and never trailed Miller. "I think this momentum will carry into the General Election," he adds.
Hagedorn took his home county of Faribault by a large margin. He won here with 364 votes to Miller's 186. That was a 66 percent to 34 percent margin.
Voter turnout was extremely low, according to Faribault County auditor/ treasurer John Thompson.
There are 8,268 registered voters in the county and only 867 came to the polls on Tuesday. That is just over 10 percent turnout, Thompson says.
Besides helping pick Hagedorn in the congressional race, Republican voters in the county went with Mike McFadden as their choice for a U.S. Senator candidate, giving him 67 percent of the votes.
They picked Marty Seifert with 32 percent of votes in a five person contest for governor candidate. And they picked Scott Newman for attorney general in the only other contested race, giving him 56 percent of the votes.
Faribault County Democrats chose some candidates by wide margins giving U.S. Senator Al Franken 94 percent of their votes and Governor Mark Dayton 90 percent of the votes over his two opponents. Rebecca Otto garnered 76 percent of the votes in the contest for state auditor.
Only the vote for a DFL secretary of state candidate was close, with Gregg Iverson on top with 36 percent of the votes.
Tim Walz, who was of several candidates running unopposed on the ballot, had 278 votes, 100 percent of the ones cast in the county.
Now incumbent Walz and challenger Hagedorn will face off in the General Election in November.
"I am running as the insurgent challenger," Hagedorn says. "I'm going to do my best to defeat Mr. Walz."
Hagedorn was not taking any rest after his victory on Tuesday. On Wednesday he was headed to Mankato to meet with members of the Minnesota Farm Bureau. That evening he was going to Fairmont and to the Martin County Fair where he planned on meeting with people and listening to what they had to say about local issues.
"I am going there with state Representative Bob Gunther," Hagedorn says. "We want to shake hands and find out what the concerns are on the main streets of the small towns in the district."
Hagedorn says he was pleased with all the support he has had from people in Blue Earth and Faribault County.
"I have had real good support from folks here, like Lowell Borgos, Dave Murray, Mike Enger and Pete Hassing," he says. "I couldn't have a bigger level of support than I have had here in Blue Earth and Faribault County and I want to thank everyone for their help and support."