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Hagedorn jumps back in the race

By Staff | Jun 2, 2014

Blue Earth resident Jim Hagedorn stopped by for a visit last week.

You remember him, don’t you?

He is the guy who wants to be the Republican candidate for the U.S. Congress seat currently held by DFLer Tim Walz.

It is not Hagedorn’s first attempt at being elected to this First Congressional seat.

He tried a couple of years ago but lost out in the contest to be selected as the GOP candidate.

He tried again this year, and had the same results.

But, he was close. He led after the second ballot at the district GOP convention held in Rochester. However, he lost out on the third ballot, after a deal was made in a back room, he says, which swung enough votes to give Byron resident Aaron Miller the nod.

Hagedorn graciously bowed out and said he would support Miller.

He has changed his mind and jumped back into the race, and his name will be on the primary ballot in the election on Aug. 17.

Republican voters will be able to choose between the endorsed candidate, Miller, and the upstart, Hagedorn.

The winner faces off against Walz in November.

So why did Hagedorn do it? Why did he give his support to Miller to run against Walz and then change his mind and jump back into the race?

He says he did it because Miller’s campaigning, so far, has been, in Hagedorn’s words, non-existence. He made one pass through the district since the convention, and that is all.

Quite simply, Hagedorn feels he is the better choice to run against Walz.

And you know what? He might be right.

The man is extremely knowledgeable on every single issue facing Washington and residents of Minnesota’s First Congressional District. When it comes to being able to go head-to-head and toe-to-toe with Tim Walz on debating any issue, Hagedorn appears to the best choice for Republicans.

Walz has been in Congress for many years. Hagedorn has been in Washington for many years trying to reform government from the inside out. Both men have a detailed knowledge of what has been going on there.

Miller, on the other hand, has never run for any political office.

Plus, the Blue Earth resident seems to be a tireless campaigner ready to go out each and every day and hit the trail to attend events everywhere.

He was even at the Blue Earth Lions Club meeting last Wednesday night.

Hagedorn has some baggage, of course. One strike against him is that he has lived in the Washington area for many years, and has moved back to Minnesota in order to run for the First District seat.

But, he now lives on Linton Street and is, indeed, a resident of Blue Earth.

And, he points out, of the three people running for this Congressional seat (Walz, Miller and Hagedorn himself), he is the only one who was born and raised in the First District.

In fact, he was born right here in Blue Earth. He still has family here, both on the Hagedorn and the Schwenn sides of his family tree.

Many of his family members are buried out in Riverside Cemetery.

Hagedorn will tell you that for the first 30 years of his life, he was a resident of this district, either in Blue Earth, Truman or while working in Washington for U.S. Representative Arlen Stangland.

There are those, including the editorial writer of the Winona newspaper, who have applauded Hagedorn for getting back in the race.

Others, such as the editorial writer of the Rochester newspaper, have said it is a mistake and almost guarantees a victory for Walz this fall.

My take on it is that Hagedorn is obviously the better choice to be the GOP candidate, so perhaps it is OK to let all of the Republicans across the district make the decision in August.

If Hagedorn is selected, voters in November can decide between two very knowledgeable and experienced men as to whom they want to represent us in Washington.

I am sure my Democrat friends will see this column as an endorsement of Hagedorn over Walz for the First District seat.

It is not.

It is, however an endorsement of our Blue Earth native son as the best possible candidate for my Republican friends to have in the race.

It would make for a very interesting contest this fall…