Republican Rep. Jim Hagedorn will head to a second term in the U.S. House, winning a rematch against Democrat Dan Feehan in a sometimes bitter campaign to represent southern Minnesota's First Congressional District.
The race was called Thursday, two days after Election Day, with Hagedorn winning by more than 13,000 votes, giving him 49% of the vote. That's a more comfortable margin for the freshman Republican than in his race two years ago, when Feehan came within 1,300 votes.
Bill Rood, a Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party candidate, drew more than 21,000 votes.
Hagedorn ran as a staunch ally and conservative "reinforcement" to President Donald Trump, who beat Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the district by 10% of the vote. Trump campaigned twice in the First District, including at a rally in Rochester last week.
But national Democrats were bullish about their chances with Feehan, a former teacher and Iraq war veteran. They dogged Hagedorn for his vote against a bill to lower prescription drug prices and his support of a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act.
In television ads, Democrats highlighted controversies involving large amounts of spending on constituent mail through Hagedorn's congressional office. Much of that spending was on printing and mail expenses to constituents with two firms that had ties to staffers in his office. Hagedorn conducted an internal review of the spending and said he has taken steps to prevent such spending in the future.
Stretching across Minnesota's border with Iowa from South Dakota to Wisconsin, the district is largely rural. But it's also home to fast-growing and diversifying regional centers like Mankato and Rochester, home to the Mayo Clinic. Hagedorn ran three times before winning the district two years ago.
The First Congressional District has swung between the two parties over the years, supporting both Barack Obama and Trump.
On the campaign trail, Hagedorn touted achievements in his first term in Congress, which he said brought Paycheck Protection Program loans to small businesses during the pandemic and prioritized CARES Act funding to preserve rural hospitals.