GOP Congressman’s Widow Announces Run For House To ‘Carry On His Legacy’
Minnesota Republican Party chair Jennifer Carnahan looks on during the national anthem during a rally for President Donald Trump at the Bemidji Regional Airport on September 18, 2020 in Bemidji, Minnesota.
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Former Minnesota Republican Party chairwoman and widow of former Minnesota Republican Rep. Jim Hagedorn, Jennifer Carnahan, has announced she is running for his seat in a special election in the state’s 1st District.

Hagedorn passed away last month following a fight with kidney cancer, leaving an open seat that has led to a special election for his position.

“I am proud to announce my candidacy to represent Minnesota’s First Congressional District. 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 statement.

“In the final weeks before his passing, Jim told me to keep forging ahead, to keep reaching my dreams, and to win this seat,” Carnahan added. “Jim was my best friend and the love of my life, and it is his blessing that strengthens me for the challenges ahead. I am 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.”

Referring to her husband, Carnahan also noted her goal to “disrupt the status quo” in Washington.

“During the Trump administration we saw economic and regulatory reform, US energy independence, trade deals like the USMCA – initiatives that created jobs and provided opportunity to people across the country – including right here in southern Minnesota,” Carnahan added in the statement. “Jim and I saw the rest of President Trump’s conservative vision stonewalled by the left and some in the Washington establishment. While DC insiders are lining their pockets; hard working Minnesotans are languishing beneath record inflation, a lawless border and higher input costs for agriculture, impacting all of America.”

“I am running to disrupt the status quo and get Washington working for the people again,” she said.

Carnahan also took to Twitter to confirm the announcement.

“It’s official. I’m running to honor my husband’s wish that I run for, and win, his seat. Jim fought so hard to put Minnesota first. I promise you I will continue his fight,” she wrote.

Carnahan joins a field of at least eight other Republican candidates, six Democrats, and a Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate, according to the Associated Press.

The deadline to register for candidacy is Tuesday. The special election primary is scheduled for May 24, with the election on August 9 to complete Hagedorn’s term.

“Carnahan, who served as the Chairwoman for the Republican Party of Minnesota from 2017-2021, also served on the White House Initiative for Asian American and Pacific Islanders by former President Donald Trump,” KSTP-5 TV reported.

“However, the former Minnesota Republican Party Chair could face some criticism – she resigned last year after disgraced Republican donor and strategist, Anton Lazzaro, was charged with child sex trafficking. Lazzaro had close ties to her,” the report added. Carnahan has denied the claims.

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