Minnesota Democrat sets up rematch in competitive House race

Minnesota Democrat sets up rematch in competitive House race
© Courtesy of Dan Feehan

Minnesota Democrat Dan Feehan on Tuesday launched his House campaign in Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District, setting up a rematch of one of 2018’s tightest congressional races. 

Feehan, a former teacher and Army veteran who earned a Bronze Star in the Iraq War, will challenge freshman Rep. Jim HagedornJames Lee HagedornLawmakers toast Greta Van Susteren's new show Minnesota Democrat sets up rematch in competitive House race Overnight Health Care: CDC pushes for expanding HIV testing, treatment | Dem group launches ads attacking Trump on Medicare, Medicaid cuts | Hospitals, insurers spar over surprise bills | O'Rourke under pressure from left on Medicare for all MORE (R), who beat Feehan in 2018 by about 1,300 votes, a margin of under 1 percent. The Minnesota Democrat underscored his military service and panned the current political climate in Washington in his campaign launch.

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“We’re better than this,” he said in a video posted on Twitter. “I volunteered in the army after 9/11 because I love our country. And when my platoon was under fire in Iraq, it didn’t matter what your race was, your religion, your political views. We were in it together. That’s what makes America great.”

Seeking to gin up support among blue-collar workers, Feehan cast himself as an ally of the working class in the fight against large corporations that he says “own” politicians like Hagedorn.

“Real patriotism means standing up for the people who make America work: the farmers, the teachers, the welders. Real patriotism means rooting out the corruption in Washington. The drug companies, Wall Street, big oil, they own Washington,” he said, adding that he will refuse to take any donations from corporate PACs. “I won’t owe anybody anything.” 

Feehan did not mention the House’s impeachment investigation in his campaign video, but he said in an interview with The Star Tribune that he had concerns that inquiry will distract from kitchen table issues and be overly partisan. 

Still he admitted he was worried about President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Warren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes MORE’s efforts to get Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes 2020 Dems put focus on stemming veteran suicides MORE said he was “deeply concerned he [Hagedorn] is not taking it seriously.”

Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District, which runs the length of the southern part of the state from Wisconsin to South Dakota, leans Republican, having voted for Trump by 15 points in 2016. However, Democratic Gov. Tim WalzTimothy (Tim) James WalzThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump grapples with Syria fallout Minnesota Democrat sets up rematch in competitive House race Overnight Health Care: CDC warns against using e-cigs after vaping-related deaths | Minnesota reports fourth nationwide death tied to vaping | Top Dem demands FDA chief take action | Marianne Williamson under fire over controversial health remarks MORE represented the district in the House for 12 years until he ran for governor in 2018.

The National Republican Congressional Committee expressed confidence Hagedorn would again defeat Feehan, saying in a statement, “Voters rejected Dan Feehan’s socialist agenda in 2018 and they will reject it again in 2020.” 

The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, rates the race as “Likely Republican.”