Hagedorn and Feehan square off in debate

Minnesota's 1st District could determine control of Congress.

Posted: Oct 12, 2018 1:04 PM
Updated: Oct 12, 2018 4:23 PM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Candidates in a southern Minnesota congressional district that represents one of the best opportunities for Republicans to flip a Democratic-held House seat clashed Friday about health care, trade and President Donald Trump.

Republican Jim Hagedorn said in a debate on Minnesota Public Radio that Trump is moving America in the right direction. But Democrat Dan Feehan promised to be independent voice in a Congress where GOP lawmakers are afraid to stand up against the president.

Here's a look at the debate and the backstory on one of America's most closely watched congressional matchups:

THE CANDIDATES

Hagedorn, a former Treasury Department official and son of former Rep. Tom Hagedorn, is making his fourth run for the seat. He lost to Democratic Rep. Tim Walz by less than a percentage point in 2016 while Trump carried the district by 15 points.

Feehan, an Army veteran who served two combat tours in Iraq, was acting assistant secretary of defense for readiness in President Barack Obama's administration. The former middle school teacher is making his first run for public office.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RACE

The 1st District race is seen as one of the GOP's best chances anywhere for picking up a seat now held by a Democrat. A northeastern Minnesota race is another. Both districts are key to the Republican counterattack as Democrats try to win the 23 seats they need to take control of the House.

THE TRUMP FACTOR

Hagedorn stressed his support for Trump, who campaigned for him in Rochester last week. He cited Trump's tax cut, and his efforts to control America's borders and cut regulations. And he faulted Feehan for opposing the president on those issues.

"Which direction are we going to go?" Hagedorn asked. "Are we going to go the direction of the resistance, the people that want to replace President Trump, the people that want to take us back to the Obama years and then some?"

Feehan said he'd be "an independent voice in Washington," not beholden to party leaders or corporate interests. He said Congress is dysfunctional because it has become "hyper-partisan" with GOP lawmakers unwilling to work across the aisle or to be "a check and balance against the president."

Hagedorn challenged Feehan's independence.

"You're not an independent voice, you're a very leftist voice, and you're going to go back there, you're going to work with (House Minority Leader Nancy) Pelosi, and you're going to work against the president every step of the way," Hagedorn said.

TRADE AND AGRICULTURE

Trump's escalating trade war with China has made southern Minnesota farmers nervous as prices for soybeans, corn and pork have fallen. Hagedorn said he doesn't like tariffs but trusts the president, saying his tough approach has already worked with Canada and Mexico .

Feehan pointed out that Hagedorn stood alongside Trump in Rochester as the president claimed his trade approach has been great for Minnesota farmers.

"I think there's no more telling an example of an unwillingness to stand up to the president," Feehan said.

HEALTH CARE

Fixing health care is another critical issue in the district, home to Rochester's Mayo Clinic. Feehan called for giving the public an option to buy into Medicare coverage and keeping Mayo deeply involved in the debate.

Hagedorn said he'd repeal and replace Obama's health care law with "free-market reforms." He said letting people buy into Medicare would "destroy medicine as we know it" because Medicare pays doctors and hospitals less than private insurance, which he said would harm Mayo and its expansion plans.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 604509

Reported Deaths: 7638
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1249671779
Ramsey52513897
Dakota46840471
Anoka42774458
Washington27428291
Stearns22557225
St. Louis18138313
Scott17551136
Wright16379149
Olmsted13399102
Sherburne1202095
Carver1067448
Clay826192
Rice8202110
Blue Earth762644
Crow Wing681795
Kandiyohi667985
Chisago619952
Otter Tail585884
Benton582998
Goodhue483874
Douglas475581
Mower470533
Winona461351
Itasca459763
Isanti440064
McLeod430661
Morrison424762
Beltrami407861
Nobles407650
Steele397816
Polk389072
Becker386755
Lyon363853
Carlton353056
Freeborn347033
Pine334923
Nicollet331245
Mille Lacs311854
Brown307840
Le Sueur297326
Cass286232
Todd285633
Meeker263443
Waseca238023
Martin235332
Roseau211221
Wabasha20793
Hubbard196641
Dodge18783
Renville182446
Redwood176539
Houston174616
Cottonwood167124
Wadena163323
Fillmore157610
Faribault154719
Chippewa154038
Pennington153820
Kanabec146828
Sibley146810
Aitkin138937
Watonwan13579
Rock128719
Jackson122712
Pipestone116726
Yellow Medicine114920
Pope11306
Murray107110
Swift106918
Koochiching95418
Stevens92411
Clearwater89016
Marshall88817
Lake83220
Wilkin83213
Lac qui Parle75622
Big Stone6044
Grant5948
Lincoln5853
Mahnomen5669
Norman5479
Kittson49022
Unassigned48193
Red Lake4017
Traverse3775
Lake of the Woods3453
Cook1720

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 371101

Reported Deaths: 6053
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58263640
Linn21221339
Scott20308248
Black Hawk16157312
Woodbury15240230
Johnson1462385
Dubuque13510211
Dallas1129199
Pottawattamie11228174
Story1071648
Warren583791
Clinton561593
Cerro Gordo554095
Sioux517574
Webster515894
Muscatine4882106
Marshall486976
Des Moines467672
Wapello4338122
Buena Vista426940
Jasper421172
Plymouth403181
Lee382356
Marion366076
Jones300957
Henry294637
Bremer288461
Carroll287152
Boone268634
Crawford268240
Benton259855
Washington257351
Dickinson249344
Mahaska232651
Jackson225242
Clay216727
Kossuth216166
Tama212071
Delaware211143
Winneshiek198735
Page194522
Buchanan194033
Cedar192423
Hardin187544
Fayette186643
Wright186040
Hamilton181951
Harrison180073
Clayton171057
Butler166335
Madison164619
Mills163824
Floyd163442
Cherokee159338
Lyon158841
Poweshiek157036
Allamakee152952
Hancock150334
Iowa149824
Winnebago144531
Cass139255
Calhoun138913
Grundy137233
Emmet135841
Jefferson133535
Shelby131837
Sac130920
Union130035
Louisa129649
Appanoose129049
Mitchell126643
Chickasaw124917
Franklin123523
Guthrie123332
Humboldt119626
Palo Alto113623
Howard105022
Montgomery103638
Clarke100924
Keokuk96732
Monroe96431
Unassigned9540
Ida91535
Adair87332
Pocahontas85822
Davis85225
Monona82931
Osceola78916
Greene78011
Lucas77923
Worth7618
Taylor66812
Fremont6269
Decatur6169
Ringgold56424
Van Buren56318
Wayne54423
Audubon53311
Adams3444
Rochester
Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 53°
Mason City
Clear
47° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 47°
Albert Lea
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 46°
Austin
Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 50°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 48°
More storm chances this week
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events