Minnesota’s Rep. Jim Hagedorn Dies at 59 After Cancer Battle
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn, a conservative Republican from southern Minnesota who followed his father’s footsteps into Congress, has died after a battle with kidney cancer, his wife said. He was 59.
Jennifer Carnahan said in a Facebook post Friday that Hagedorn “passed away peacefully last night.”
Hagedorn was diagnosed with stage IV kidney cancer in February 2019, shortly after he began his first term, and just a couple months after he married Carnahan, then state chairwoman for the Minnesota Republican Party.
He underwent immunotherapy at the Mayo Clinic. The treatment knocked back his cancer enough that doctors felt safe taking out his affected kidney in December 2020, which he said removed an estimated 99% of the cancer in his body. But he announced in July 2021 that his cancer had returned.
Hagedorn represented the 1st District, which stretches across southern Minnesota.
He won the seat in 2018 on his fourth try, after countless appearances in small-town parades and county fairs, and after nearly unseating then-Rep. Tim Walz in 2016. In both his 2018 and 2020 races against Democrat Dan Feehan, Hagedorn touted his staunch support for President Donald Trump and conservative positions.
“I want to be a partner with the president,” he was fond of saying during the 2018 campaign.
In office, he voted against certifying President Joe Biden’s election, just hours after the failed Capitol insurrection, and he signed on earlier with other House Republicans to a last gasp bid to get the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Biden’s victory. He was actively raising money for another run in 2022.
Hagedorn was the son of former congressman Tom Hagedorn, who represented some of the same territory from 1975-83. After getting his degree from George Mason University in suburban Washington, he worked as aide to Rep. Arlan Stangeland of Minnesota, then in congressional liaison positions with the Treasury Department, before returning home to Minnesota and launching his long quest for a seat.