ALBERT LEA, Minn. (AP) - A candidate who pledged not to force a Republican primary in Minnesota's First Congressional District has changed his mind.
Jim Hagedorn was one of three GOP candidates vying for the party's nomination last month.
State Rep. Mike Benson lost in the first round of balloting. In the second round, businessman Aaron Miller got 56 percent of the vote. That was short of the 60 percent needed for victory, but Hagedorn agreed to step aside for the sake of party unity.
All candidates agreed to abide by the vote rather than force a Republican primary in August. The winner would challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Walz this fall.
However, Hagedorn said Sunday he's re-entering the race because Miller isn't doing enough to run a full-time campaign and outwork Walz.
Hagedorn, of Blue Earth, said his decision was based upon encouragement from GOP leaders and activists throughout the district according to a press release from the Hagedorn for Congress website.
Hagedorn intends to file the necessary paperwork to have his name placed on the Aug. 12 Republican primary election ballot.
"The devastating big government policies of Obama-Walz are transforming our nation at breakneck speed," said Hagedorn in the press release. "This isn't a typical election to sway the direction of our country and state, this election is about the survival of the United States as the Forefathers envisioned," he said in the press release.
"There is urgency to the Hagedorn campaign because we believe this is the last best chance to defeat Obamacare Democrats like Tim Walz and take the bold steps needed to restore our country's greatness," Hagedorn said in the press release.
Hagedorn said people may ask "what changed since the close Republican Albert Lea convention?" "Nothing, and that's the point," he said. "The endorsed candidate has failed to fulfill the basic promises made to convention delegates, including that he would run an aggressive full-time campaign against Tim Walz and outwork the incumbent," Hagedorn said.
"The endorsement is a vote of confidence that carries with it responsibilities," Hagedorn said. "The Republican endorsement is not an entitlement," he said. "Defeating an entrenched congressman requires 100 percent of a challenger's time and energy," said Hagedorn. "A part-time candidate simply cannot defeat a full-time congressman," he said.
"We are 6 weeks or about 20 percent of the way through the general election campaign and the endorsed candidate has yet to issue a single press release attacking Walz's failed liberal record, publish a single position paper on any issue, perform any serious campaigning and has missed key public events, such as the Albert Lea VA Clinic dedication held April 25th," Hagedorn said. "Meanwhile, Walz is garnering visibility on the campaign trail with no opposition," said Hagedorn in the press release.
"My candidacy offers First District voters the chance to support a Republican with the experience to take the race directly to Tim Walz and engage the congressman on the issues," said Hagedorn. "I'm not afraid of running an insurgent-challenger campaign, confronting Walz on his failed record and articulating clear-cut positions," he said in the press release.
"I have the campaign experience, ability, mindset and commitment to make this race a referendum on Walz's record of big government extremism and offer voters bold conservative solutions," he said in the press release.
Hagedorn grew up in rural Truman. His work experience includes being a legislative assistant to former Minnesota Republican Congressman Arlan Stangeland, serving as director for Legislative and Public Affairs for the Financial Management Service, which is an agency for the U.S. Department of the Treasury and serving as Congressional Affairs Officer for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. He returned to Minnesota in 2009. He is the son of Tom Hagedorn, who served as the Second District representative to Congress in the 1970s.