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Special election candidate pool crowds as nine more enter CD1 race

Fourteen candidates have either filed or announced their intention to run in the special election for the late Jim Hagedorn's seat.

Nels Pierson (clockwise from upper left), Jeff Ettinger, Matt Benda, Sarah Brakebill-Hacke, and Richard Devoe have all joined the race for Minnesota's 1st Congressional District seat. Photos of other candidates were not available.
Nels Pierson (clockwise from upper left), Jeff Ettinger, Matt Benda, Sarah Brakebill-Hacke, and Richard Devoe have all joined the race for Minnesota's 1st Congressional District seat. Photos of other candidates were not available.
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WORTHINGTON — The candidate pool for the 1st Congressional District’s special election has swelled to 14, with nine more people filing to run since Tuesday, March 8. Intended to fill the remainder of Rep. Jim Hagedorn's term after his death last month, the election will take place Aug. 9, with a primary election on May 24.

Three more candidates have filed to join the field of Republican candidates as of Friday morning, according to the Secretary of State website, though none of the candidates appear to have campaign websites set up at this time. Kevin Konica, whose campaign office is listed in Hastings, filed on Tuesday and Roger Ungemach, a Fridley resident, filed Wednesday. Matt Benda, who joined the race as of Thursday, is an agriculture law attorney from Albert Lea. He has been active with the Freeborn County Republican Party, according to the Albert Lea Tribune , and served as chairman of the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce. The Jackson County native previously ran for the Minnesota House District 27A seat in 2006, but lost to DFL candidate Robin Brown.

State Rep. Nels Pierson , of Rochester, also announced his intention to run on Friday, issuing a press release Friday afternoon. Pierson is a four-term state representative, currently serving District 26B since 2014. He has served on committees for Agriculture Finance, Agriculture Policy, Capital Investment, and Health and Human Services Finance committees during his time in the legislature and is a lifelong resident of the district.

Also filed as Republicans for the Congressional District 1 seat are Brad Finstad, Jeremey Munson, Ken Navitsky, and Bob “Again” Carney. Richard B. Reisdorf, of Mankato, entered the race representing the Legal Marijuana Now party and has yet to set up a campaign website. Prior to Tuesday, only one candidate was registered to represent the DFL party, but four have since joined Richard W. Painter in the race, including Sarah Brakebill-Hacke, who grew up in Rochester and went on the study at Ivy League schools after years of being homeless . This will be the 35-year-old’s first run at electoral politics. She has dedicated much of her academic career to understanding the impacts of food insecurity and one day hopes to become an international human rights lawyer, according to several news stories out of the Rochester area and the Star Tribune.

Alongside Brakebill-Hacke, George H. Kalberer also registered as a DFL candidate on March 9. Neither currently have campaign websites. Richard DeVoe , of Red Wing and Former Hormel CEO, Jeff Ettinger, have also thrown their hats into the ring as democrats. DeVoe, a small business owner, first became involved with politics as a sophomore in high school and has participated in numerous campaigns in the 47 years since, according to his press release.

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Ettinger retired from Hormel in 2016 and continues to serve as board chairman of the Hormel Foundation. This will be his first run at politics, and he enters the race as a moderate democrat, according to the Austin Daily Herald .

The filing period for the Congressional District 1 race remains open until 5 p.m., March 15.

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Emma McNamee joined The Globe team in October 2021 as a reporter covering Crime & Courts, Politics, and the City beats. Born and raised in Duluth, Minn., McNamee left her hometown to attend school in Chicago at Columbia College. She graduated in 2021 with a degree in Multimedia Journalism, with a concentration in News & Feature Writing and a minor in Creative Writing.
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