Jennifer Carnahan has announced she is running for Congress in a special election prompted by the untimely death of her husband, Minnesota Republican Rep. Jim Hagedorn.
Jim passed away last month at age 59 following a battle with kidney cancer. It was rumored that he hoped his wife would fill his seat in the State’s 1st District.
47 women have been elected or appointed to fill congressional vacancies created by the deaths of their husbands—8 to the U.S. Senate and 39 to the U. S. House of Representatives, according to a Reuters report.
Jennifer Carnahan appears poised to carry on that legacy.
The Verve Times reports that Carnahan became the first Asian American woman to lead a major party in Minnesota, serving as the State’s Republican Party Chair from 2017-2021. Under her leadership, the Minnesota GOP paid off $1 million in debt and flipped three House seats – Minnesota’s 1st and 8th Congressional Districts in 2018 and the 7th congressional District in 2020 – from blue to red.
“I am proud to announce my candidacy to represent Minnesota’s First Congressional District. Though my heart is still heavy after Jim’s passing, the encouragement I have received from throughout southern Minnesota has inspired me to carry on his legacy by running to complete the remainder of his term,” Carnahan said in a statement.
In announcing her candidacy, Carnahan explained:
“In the final weeks before his passing, Jim told me to keep forging ahead, to keep reaching my dreams, and to win this seat. Jim was my best friend and the love of my life, and it is his blessing that strengthens me for the challenges ahead.
I am committed to continuing my husband’s legacy of fighting to secure the border, defending conservative values, safeguarding the integrity of our elections, and serving the people of Minnesota’s First Congressional District.”
In her announcement, Carnahan also made clear her plan is to work hard, restore Trump-era prosperity, and “disrupt the status quo” in Washington.
“During the Trump administration, we saw economic and regulatory reform, U.S. energy independence, trade deals like the USMCA – initiatives that created jobs and provided opportunity to people across the country – including right here in southern Minnesota.”
Carnahan added: “Jim and I saw the rest of President Trump’s conservative vision stonewalled by the left and some in the Washington establishment. While DC insiders are lining their pockets; hard working Minnesotans are languishing beneath record inflation, a lawless border and higher input costs for agriculture, impacting all of America.”
“I am running to disrupt the status quo and get Washington working for the people again,” she said.
Carnahan also noted her intent to run for office to Twitter.
“It’s official. I’m running to honor my husband’s wish that I run for, and win, his seat. Jim fought so hard to put Minnesota first. I promise you I will continue his fight,” she wrote.
According to the Associated Press, Carnahan will face stiff competition in a field of at least “eight other Republican candidates, six Democrats, and a Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate.”
The special election primary is scheduled for May 24, with the election on August 9 to complete the term left open by Jim Hagedorn.
Scroll down to leave a comment and share your thoughts.