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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.

Cases: 486434

Reported Deaths: 6575
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1009131586
Ramsey43165803
Dakota36375392
Anoka33335388
Washington22121258
Stearns18752201
St. Louis14822263
Scott13308107
Wright12538116
Olmsted1181788
Sherburne874172
Carver775640
Clay692387
Rice670791
Blue Earth596635
Kandiyohi579674
Crow Wing521282
Chisago499545
Otter Tail483270
Benton447790
Winona418549
Mower405731
Douglas393368
Nobles387247
Goodhue386269
Polk343763
McLeod340049
Beltrami338651
Morrison324747
Itasca313646
Lyon313644
Becker312542
Isanti306756
Steele301511
Carlton300149
Freeborn282623
Pine282016
Nicollet259241
Todd248330
Brown245537
Le Sueur235720
Mille Lacs227947
Cass220424
Waseca209317
Meeker207434
Martin189928
Wabasha18673
Roseau180317
Hubbard160740
Houston157414
Dodge15294
Renville150340
Redwood147027
Fillmore13768
Chippewa136735
Pennington136316
Cottonwood135020
Wadena131020
Faribault123417
Aitkin119033
Watonwan11758
Sibley117310
Rock115914
Kanabec107519
Pipestone101624
Yellow Medicine97617
Murray9488
Jackson93610
Swift87918
Pope8075
Marshall78015
Lake74218
Stevens7418
Clearwater71914
Lac qui Parle68516
Wilkin67411
Koochiching61911
Big Stone5163
Lincoln5092
Grant4918
Norman4788
Unassigned44568
Mahnomen4417
Kittson40921
Red Lake3625
Traverse3075
Lake of the Woods2191
Cook1180

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 335218

Reported Deaths: 5443
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk51785551
Linn19463313
Scott17080210
Black Hawk14924292
Woodbury13778212
Johnson1312174
Dubuque12416194
Dallas1019092
Pottawattamie9828143
Story959345
Warren511674
Clinton500784
Cerro Gordo498882
Webster494487
Sioux479169
Marshall463072
Des Moines427161
Muscatine424191
Buena Vista412237
Wapello4025108
Jasper386266
Plymouth367478
Lee354252
Marion339869
Jones284654
Henry279637
Bremer268754
Carroll266349
Crawford252235
Boone242830
Benton240354
Washington239047
Mahaska215246
Jackson209738
Dickinson202440
Tama202365
Kossuth198055
Delaware185540
Clay183825
Winneshiek182827
Fayette178635
Page177819
Buchanan176929
Wright173831
Hamilton173742
Cedar171523
Hardin169439
Harrison167169
Clayton159854
Butler158831
Mills147920
Floyd147741
Poweshiek147730
Lyon145541
Cherokee145336
Allamakee142347
Madison141918
Iowa139423
Hancock137630
Grundy132030
Winnebago130231
Calhoun129311
Cass128751
Jefferson128334
Appanoose123147
Louisa122341
Mitchell120440
Chickasaw119615
Union118731
Sac118318
Shelby116433
Emmet115040
Humboldt113525
Franklin109019
Guthrie108928
Palo Alto100921
Howard99021
Montgomery96736
Clarke94720
Keokuk92029
Monroe89428
Adair81028
Ida81032
Pocahontas80919
Davis76323
Monona76327
Greene72910
Lucas71421
Osceola68215
Worth6667
Taylor64112
Decatur5699
Fremont5599
Van Buren53718
Ringgold50520
Audubon4739
Wayne45821
Adams3184
Unassigned00
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