Republican Rep. Jim Hagedorn Dead at 59

  • GOP Rep. Jim Hagedorn died Thursday night after a battle with kidney cancer.
  • His wife, former Minnesota GOP Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan, wrote on Facebook that Hagedorn “lived his dream by serving others.”
  • A son of a former congressman, Hagedorn was first elected in 2018.

GOP Rep. Jim Hagedorn of Minnesota passed away on Thursday night following a months-long fight with cancer, his wife said in a statement.

“Jim loved our country and loved representing the people of southern Minnesota. Every moment of every day he lived his dream by serving others,” former Minnesota GOP Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan wrote on Facebook on Friday morning.

Carnahan said Hagedorn “passed away peacefully.” He revealed last July that he had been diagnosed with kidney cancer.

Born in Blue Earth, Minnesota, Hagedorn first came to Congress in 1984 as a staffer for Minnesota Republican congressman Arlan Ingehart. In 1991, Hagedorn began to work for the US Treasury Department before setting his eyes on becoming a member himself.

Hagedorn was the son of former Congressman Rep. Tom Hagedorn, who also represented Minnesota.

“I’m humbled by this opportunity, having seen firsthand my dad do it,” Hagedorn told the Star Tribune in 2019, shortly after starting his first term on the hill.

But making it back to Capitol Hill wasn’t easy. Hagedorn ran unsuccessfully three times before Tim Walz left the US House for his eventual successful gubernatorial run. Walz’s retirement opened up a seat that narrowly went for Mitt Romney in 2012 before President Donald Trump romped to a 15-point win in the rural, southern Minnesota district.

Hagedorn and Democrat Dan Feehan engaged in a razor-close race that was decided by less than 2,000 votes. The pair later engaged in a 2020 rematch, which Hagedorn also won.

Carnahan said there was “no stronger conservative” in the state than Hagedorn.

“While nothing can accurately prepare you for the unimaginable pain, intense sorrow, suffocating grief and seemingly never-ending emptiness that engulfs the entire body, soul and spirit when your forever love passes away; at least we can smile knowing Jim is smiling from heaven encouraging us to keep chasing our dreams, loving unconditionally and fighting for the country,” Carnahan wrote.

In a sign of his district’s break for Trump, Hagedorn was a staunchly loyal supporter of the former president. He signed onto Texas’ failed effort to get the Supreme Court to intervene in the 2020 election results and voted against certifying both Arizona and Pennsylvania’s election results.

Rep. Betty McCollum, a Democrat and the dean of the Minnesota delegation, said despite their differences she and Hagedorn were united by their commitment to help fellow Minnesotans.

“Jim and I served in the US House during a time of many great challenges for our nation and for our state – and all the while, he bravely endured the personal challenge of cancer treatment with dignity and grace while serving our country and its constituents, she said in a statement.

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