Carnahan announces run to fill late husband’s congressional seat

Published 8:44 am Monday, March 14, 2022

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The widow of Congressman Jim Hagedorn says she’s running in the special election to fill the remainder of his term representing southern Minnesota’s 1st District.

Jennifer Carnahan, who’s a former state Republican Party chair, made that announcement early Monday.

“Though my heart is still heavy after Jim’s passing, the encouragement I have received from throughout southern Minnesota has inspired me to carry on his legacy by running to complete the remainder of his term,” Carnahan said in a news release.

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Carnahan wrote that she is “committed to continuing my husband’s legacy of fighting to secure the border, defending conservative values, safeguarding the integrity of our elections, and serving the people of Minnesota’s First Congressional District.” In her statement, Carnahan aligns herself closely with former President Donald Trump, saying she’s “running to disrupt the status quo.”

She joins a crowded field running in the closely contested district — at least eight other Republicans, along with six Democrats and one Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate. The filing period for the special election closes Tuesday.

Carnahan’s news release Monday did not say whether she intends to run in the general election in November.

Carnahan was elected to a third two-year term as state GOP chair last spring — but then resigned the position in August, after federal prosecutors filed sex trafficking charges against Anton Lazzaro, a GOP donor who had been close to Carnahan.

There were also allegations, which Carnahan denied, that she had created a toxic environment at the party offices.