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Congressional candidate Hagedorn back in race

U.S. House of Representatives candidate Jim Hagedorn poses Tuesday morning in the Daily Globe newsroom. Ryan McGaughey/Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON — A little more than six weeks after losing his party’s endorsement for Minnesota’s First Congressional District, Jim Hagedorn is back in the race.

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Hagedorn, who was defeated by Aaron Miller in seeking to be the Republican Party’s endorsed candidate against four-term incumbent Tim Walz, announced last weekend that he will seek to top Miller in the Aug. 12 primary. Hagedorn explained his reasons for re-igniting his campaign during a Tuesday visit to the Daily Globe.

“People have asked me what has changed since the endorsing convention, and I say, ‘Nothing,’” Hagedorn said. “That’s the point. The endorsed candidate promised to run a full-time campaign … and he hasn’t done that. I’m going to give voters an opportunity to support a candidate who will aggressively challenge Tim Walz and his failed liberal policies.”

In a press release issued Sunday, Hagedorn said Miller “has yet to issue a single press release attacking Walz’s failed liberal record, publish a single position paper on any issue … and has missed key events, such as the Albert Lea VA Clinic dedication held April 25th. Meanwhile, Walz is garnering visibility on the campaign trail with no opposition.”

Hagedorn said Tuesday that he’ll outwork his Republican primary opponent while keeping the focus on winning in November.

“We’re going to do what we were doing before — go out on the campaign trail 18 hours a day and keep working,” Hagedorn said. “Tim Walz is the most liberal congressman in the history of southwest Minnesota. I have no intention of getting into a fight within the Republican party. If I can outwork (Walz), I think I’m going to be in a real strong position.”

Hagedorn criticized Walz on multiple fronts Tuesday, with the Mankato Democrat’s support of the Affordable Care Act legislation at the top of his list.

“His mantra is, ‘We’re not going backward, we’re going forward,’” said Hagedorn of Walz’s continued support of what’s commonly known as Obamacare. “But now he wants to fix a fix. … We should just scrap Obamacare and start over.”

Hagedorn also connected Walz to U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, who has faced abundant criticism over allegations that a hospital in Phoenix, Ariz., created a secret list to hide the fact that veterans had to wait months to access care.

“Mr. Shinseki was in Mankato four years ago with Tim Walz,” Hagedorn said. “He’s tight with him, and he’s part of this. … Tim Walz is trying to get out in front of problems he’s partially responsible for, but he needs to be taking responsibility for his part of the problem.”

Hagedorn also faulted Walz for failure to bring promised Lewis & Clark Regional Water System money to southwest Minnesota. The congressman supported a stimulus bill of “roughly $800 billion,” Hagedorn said, but couldn’t get even a small fraction of that for Lewis & Clark.

Hagedorn is the son of former U.S. Rep. Thomas Hagedorn. The younger Hagedorn has worked previously as a legislative assistant to former Minnesota Rep. Arlan Stangeland, and was director for legislative and public affairs for the Financial Management Service — a U.S. Department of the Treasury agency — from 1991 to 1998.

Daily Globe Managing Editor Ryan McGaughey may be reached at 376-7320.

Ryan McGaughey

I first joined the Daily Globe in April 2001 as sports editor. I later became the news editor in November 2002, and the managing editor in August 2006. I'm originally from New York State, and am married with two children.

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