Republican Brad Finstad won a special election for a Minnesota House seat

Republican Brad Finstad won Tuesday’s special election to fill vacant U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn’s southern seat in Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District, the Associated Press reported.

The big picture: Finstad, a former lawmaker and USDA rural development director, defeated Democratic candidate and former Hormel CEO Jeff Ettinger.

Background: Hagedorn, a two-term GOP congressman, died in January of kidney cancer at age 59.

  • Finstad beat a field of challengers that included a conservative state lawmaker backed by the Freedom Caucus and former Minnesota Republican Party chair Jennifer Carnahan, the late congressman’s wife, to win the GOP nomination in a special primary in May.

Between the lines; The vast southern Minnesota district has been considered a swing seat in recent elections. Hagedorn won by less than a percentage point in 2018, ending more than a decade of DFL control.

  • But the political trend in farm country’s largely rural district has shifted in favor of the GOP.

What’s next: Finstad and Ettinger will go forward again in November, when NoThe Otters will decide who goes to Washington full-time in the red district.

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