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The Case Against Congressman Jim Hagedorn

“As an Army veteran, a teacher and a native of southern Minnesota, Dan Feehan is running to bring servant leadership to Washington. Dan has always put his country ahead of partisan politics, and he’ll work across party lines to get things done for southern Minnesotans. After coming up just 1,300 votes short in 2018, Dan is putting together the campaign necessary to finish the job and win in November.” – DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos

To: Interested Parties
From: Brooke Goren, DCCC Regional Press Secretary
Date: June 2, 2020
Subject: The Case Against Congressman Jim Hagedorn

After running unsuccessfully three times in this district, longtime Washington bureaucrat, lobbyist, and incumbent Congressman Jim Hagedorn finally dragged himself across the finish line in 2018 by running one of the nastiest campaigns of the cycle. And in Congress, Hagedorn has carried that reputation forward, showing himself to be part of the problem in Washington — more focused on helping the wealthy special interests backing his campaign than working for Minnesotans.  In 2018, former army ranger and public-school teacher Dan Feehan came just 1,300 votes shy of winning Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District. Tonight’s filing deadline set the district up for one of the top rematches to watch in 2020.

With health care top of mind for voters amid an unprecedented global pandemic, Hagedorn will be running for re-election on the disastrous health care record he has built in Washington. After a drug company-funded Republican interest group ran a $2.5 million ad campaign encouraging Hagedorn to vote against legislation that would allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug costs, Hagedorn did just that. Then he  bragged about his opposition to the bill – despite the fact that it would have saved the average family of four approximately $1,920 per year. Last year, he was the only member in Minnesota’s bipartisan delegation not to sign onto a letter in support of funding for the state’s health care program, MinnesotaCare.

A strong fundraiser who has dedicated his life to service, Dan Feehan lost this seat by one of the slimmest margins in the country in 2018. With a head start on name ID and a cash-on-hand advantage over Hagedorn, Feehan has built the campaign necessary to finish the job and win here in November.


HEADLINE: Dan Feehan seeks rematch, comes out swinging against Rep. Jim Hagedorn [La Crosse Tribune, 10/2/19]

“Feehan said his campaign will deal with rising prescription drug costs, the struggling farm economy, and improving access to health care in rural communities.” [KTTC, 10/6/20]

WATCH: “Minnesota’s U.S. Congressman Jim Hagedorn Says He Will Vote Against Lowering the Cost of Prescription Drugs” [KAAL, 11/13/19]

HEADLINE: DFL’s Feehan has robust fourth quarter in fundraising [Rochester Post-Bulletin, 1/7/20]

“[Hagedorn] was the only representative in the 10-member Minnesota congressional delegation not to sign on to a letter in support of MinnesotaCare.” [MinnPost, 4/24/19]

HEADLINE: Hagedorn is Minnesota’s least productive congressman… [Rochester Post Bulletin, 11/21/19]

“Farmers need action, not lip service, from Rep. Jim Hagedorn.” [Free Press of Mankato Op-Ed, 4/17/20]

Jim Hagedorn: A Creature of the DC Swamp Who is Loyal to Special Interests, Not Minnesotans


After less than 18 months in Congress, Hagedorn has already built a record of putting special interests ahead of lowering the cost of health care for Minnesotans.

Just days into his first term, Hagedorn voted to support a lawsuit that would get rid of the entire Affordable Care Act. Even in the face of the coronavirus outbreak, Hagedorn has never wavered in his obsession with dismantling our health care system, refusing to support a special enrollment period that would help the more than 20% of Minnesota’s workforce who have lost their jobs during this pandemic. Meanwhile, the partisan lawsuit he voted to support would gut protections for 275,800 Minnesotans in the 1st District with pre-existing conditions – in the middle of a public health crisis.

After a drug company-funded PAC ran a $2.5 million ad campaign encouraging him to vote against legislation that would allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug costs, Hagedorn bragged about his opposition to the bill – despite the fact that it would have saved the average family of four approximately $1,920 per year. Hagedorn’s vote earned instant backlash back home, and as families across southern Minnesota continue to deal with the economic fallout from coronavirus, Hagedorn faces even more pressure to explain why he refused to lower their health care costs.

And then, last year, Congressman Hagedorn was the only member in Minnesota’s bipartisan delegation not to sign onto a letter in support of funding for the state’s health care program, MinnesotaCare.

So what does Congressman Hagedorn support when it comes to health care? He has repeatedly pushed for a return to the state run high-risk pools established under Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association (MCHA), which were deemed “not affordable” by the Minnesota Department of Health. Under MCHA, patients faced benefit caps and premiums set between 101 and 125 percent of the market rate and people with a chronic disease or a pre-existing condition faced much higher costs and were left without coverage once they met their lifetime cap. He has also touted health association plans which have a history of fraud and abuse that left people with unpaid medical bills and allow insurance companies to discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions.

With a record like that, Hagedorn faces an uphill battle convincing voters that they should give him a second chance seeing as he is so firmly on the wrong side of their number one issue.

In contrast, Dan Feehan has made lowering health care costs and improving access to quality, affordable care a cornerstone of his campaign. Dan has pledged to work across the aisle to protect those with pre-existing conditions, lower premiums, and stand up to powerful drug companies so that no Minnesotan has to chose between putting food on the table or buying the medication they need to survive.


While Dan Feehan left Minnesota to serve his country overseas as an Army Ranger, teach underprivileged children and then serve our country again in the Pentagon, Hagedorn spent most of his life in D.C. working in the federal government. In fact, Hagedorn was so desperate to return to Washington on Minnesota taxpayers’ dime that he ran unsuccessfully for this seat three times before spending from Washington special interests just barely dragged him over the finish line in 2018.

As a member of Congress, Hagedorn’s gaffes have shown just how out of touch he is with working people. Last year, he came under fire for claiming that “Nobody [in America] goes to sleep at night wondering if they’ll be able to feed their families.” Never one to miss an opportunity to put his foot on the neck of Minnesota families, Hagedorn has also praised the federal government’s decision to impose new requirements for food stamp eligibility.

Dan Feehan, on the other hand, was driven by the values he learned growing up in Red Wing, Minnesota, to dedicate his life to service. In 2018, Feehan came just shy of winning this Trump-won district thanks to his track record of putting his country ahead of his party. Now, as our country grapples with serious mismanagement of a deadly pandemic, southern Minnesota voters are looking for an independent leader like Dan who will stand up to special interests and do what’s right for them.

While Hagedorn’s campaigns are overwhelmingly funded by special interests, Feehan is once again refusing to take a dime of corporate PAC money. At a time when voters are sick of the Washington swamp, Feehan offers a refreshing commitment to always put southern Minnesotans ahead of outside interests.


Dan Feehan narrowly lost to Jim Hagedorn by one of the smallest margins in the country in 2018 – barely 1,300 votes.

With the liability of a record that has yet to be litigated, Hagedorn’s blind loyalty to Washington special interests and embrace of their agenda will be on full display as voters continue to grapple in their own lives with the health and economic fallout of coronavirus.

While President Trump carried the district in 2016, DFLers have a long history of winning here, including in historically difficult years like 2010 and 2014. Since 2012, only three DFL candidates up and down the ballot have lost the district. President Obama won here twice, as did Senators Klobuchar and Governor Walz in their most recent elections.

While Republicans have voiced concern over Hagedorn’s anemic fundraising, Feehan has consistently shown himself to be one of the top raising challengers in the country and has nearly $1 million cash on hand after just two quarters in the race.

Headed into November, the contrast couldn’t be more clear: veteran and teacher Dan Feehan embodies the kind of independent leadership we need while longtime Washington insider Jim Hagedorn is beholden to special interests and has repeatedly put them ahead of southern Minnesotans.


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