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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.

Confirmed Cases: 38569

Reported Deaths: 1511
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin12456787
Ramsey4911228
Dakota238291
Stearns237119
Anoka2241109
Nobles16696
Olmsted112915
Washington111440
Mower9522
Rice8447
Scott7344
Clay58738
Kandiyohi5731
Blue Earth4792
Wright4755
Todd4012
Carver3811
Sherburne3175
Lyon3162
Freeborn2920
Watonwan2340
Steele2311
Benton2173
St. Louis18015
Martin1695
Nicollet16912
Cottonwood1360
Goodhue1318
Winona12515
Crow Wing10612
Pine1050
Le Sueur1031
Chisago1001
Otter Tail951
McLeod920
Carlton870
Dodge870
Polk822
Chippewa791
Unassigned7837
Isanti730
Waseca680
Douglas650
Itasca6412
Murray640
Meeker611
Morrison591
Becker560
Faribault560
Jackson550
Sibley542
Pipestone522
Pennington510
Renville352
Mille Lacs342
Wabasha330
Brown312
Rock310
Beltrami300
Fillmore300
Yellow Medicine300
Houston260
Swift221
Wilkin213
Norman200
Redwood180
Cass162
Roseau160
Aitkin150
Big Stone150
Koochiching151
Wadena150
Kanabec141
Grant120
Marshall120
Lincoln100
Pope100
Mahnomen91
Clearwater80
Hubbard70
Lake60
Traverse60
Lac qui Parle40
Stevens40
Red Lake30
Kittson20
Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 31670

Reported Deaths: 722
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk6638179
Woodbury325244
Black Hawk230158
Buena Vista171411
Johnson13148
Linn129482
Dallas128029
Marshall104919
Scott81510
Story7793
Pottawattamie73612
Wapello70830
Dubuque70222
Crawford6772
Muscatine64344
Sioux4770
Tama46529
Wright3861
Louisa36213
Jasper32517
Plymouth3225
Warren2901
Dickinson2663
Washington2439
Webster2292
Hamilton1891
Cerro Gordo1821
Boone1481
Clay1340
Clarke1322
Allamakee1314
Mahaska11617
Shelby1140
Clinton1121
Poweshiek1068
Carroll991
Pocahontas971
Bremer946
Des Moines922
Franklin900
Emmet880
Henry863
Cedar841
Taylor790
Hardin770
Monona770
Cherokee751
Floyd732
Marion700
Benton691
Guthrie664
Jefferson640
Sac640
Osceola620
Jones610
Butler572
Buchanan551
Humboldt551
Hancock540
Harrison540
Lee542
Calhoun532
Iowa530
Delaware511
Fayette510
Monroe516
Madison482
Clayton443
Lyon440
Davis411
Palo Alto410
Mitchell390
Winneshiek390
Grundy380
Mills370
Kossuth350
Howard340
Jackson320
Lucas314
Greene300
Chickasaw290
Union290
Winnebago290
Ida240
Cass230
Van Buren220
Appanoose213
Keokuk211
Page210
Worth200
Unassigned170
Adair160
Audubon161
Ringgold160
Decatur120
Montgomery102
Wayne100
Adams80
Fremont70
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