GOP U.S. House hopeful Jim Hagedorn defends old blog posts now under fire

  • Article by: RICARDO LOPEZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 23, 2014 - 3:52 PM

The candidate said his comments on gays, women and Indians were satirical.

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First District GOP candidate Jim Hagedorn, center. talked with folks at Farmfest before a forum on agriculture and rural issues earlier in the month.

Photo: Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune

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Years-old blog posts in which Republican congressional hopeful Jim Hagedorn lambasted women, American Indians, gays and national political figures have recently resurfaced and are now dogging the candidate’s campaign.

Hagedorn, the surprise primary victor in the First Congressional District, told the Star Tribune on Friday that he stood by his extensive writings. Hagedorn is running against four-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, a Democrat.

In a 2002 “masterpiece analysis,” he called two female senators from Washington “bimbos in tennis shoes.” In his posts, Hagedorn offered up his candid assessments of state and national races, peppering descriptions of elected officials with disparaging remarks. His missives, however, were not all negative.

In a 2008 “masterpiece analysis,” he thanked Sen. John McCain for picking former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate on the Republican ticket.

“On behalf of all red-blooded American men: THANK YOU SENATOR McCAIN, SARAH’S HOT!” he wrote. In his many commentaries, he also railed against gay marriage and accused Democrats in South Dakota of using deceased American Indians’ names on absentee ballots.

“Leave it to liberals to ruin John Wayne’s wisdom of the only good Indian being a dead Indian,” he wrote in 2002.

A businessman, Hagedorn defended his off-the-cuff opinions as humorous and satirical in nature, saying he criticized politicians of all stripes, not just Democrats. The posts were written between 2002 and 2008 on a now-defunct blog titled “Mr. Conservative.” The writings were first reported by politics blog Bluestem Prairie and later picked up by Mother Jones, a liberal news site.

“Over the years, I wrote political commentary … and poked fun at national politicians,” Hagedorn said. “This is old stuff that’s been out there” for years, he said.

Asked whether he owed voters an apology for his crude and strong language, he said he did not.

The state Republican Party on Friday stood by its candidate.

“At the MNGOP we are focused on winning in November,” Chairman Keith Downey said in a statement. “Tim Walz has led Minnesotans in the First Congressional District in the wrong direction. … We need new leadership to reform Washington and get Minnesota headed in the right direction.”

The Walz campaign did not respond to a request seeking comment, and instead the state’s DFL Party issued a statement condemning Hagedorn’s past remarks.

“Mr. Hagedorn’s outrageous, offensive comments make him unfit for office,” said Ken Martin, the state’s chair, in a statement. “Making racist, sexist statements from behind a computer screen in Washington is shameful.”

Hagedorn, the son of former U.S. Rep. Tom Hagedorn, upset Army veteran Aaron Miller, the GOP-endorsed candidate in the Republican primary earlier this month.

The National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, the House Republicans’ campaign arm, had pegged Miller as an up-and-coming candidate.

After failing to win the party endorsement, Hagedorn re-entered the race “at the urging of quite a few people inside the Republican Party,” who felt that Miller wasn’t devoting enough time to the campaign, he previously said.

 

Ricardo Lopez • 651-925-5044

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