Since July, Republican Congressman Jim Hagedorn has been battling a recurrence of kidney cancer. In January, Rep. Hagedorn (R-MN) was diagnosed with COVID-19. After a brave fight, Representative Hagedorn has passed away, announced his wife, Jennifer Carnahan, via Facebook. He was only 59 years of age.
Hagedorn’s district included the towns of Rochester, Austin, and Mankato.
Although Representative Hagedorn was diagnosed with COVID-19 as well as cancer, an official cause of death was not mentioned by Hagedorn’s wife in the Facebook post. She did, however, speak of Hagedorn’s love of America as well as his native state: “Jim loved our country and loved representing the people of Southern Minnesota. Every moment of every day he lived his dream by serving others. There was no stronger conservative in our state than my husband, and it showed in how he voted, led, and fought for our country.”
Carnahan also added that Hagedorn was a “loving husband, son, brother, uncle, and friend.” She also mentioned Hagedorn’s love of Minnesota sports teams, including the Minnesota Vikings, the Minnesota Twins, and the Penguins. She concluded the post by writing: “Jim Hagedorn, I love you. I miss you. I feel empty without you. I will forever be holding your hand.”
Carnahan spoke repeatedly of Hagedorn’s love for America, and she encouraged his friends and constituents to “(keep) fighting for the country.”
Hagedorn began his career in politics as a legislative aide for then-Representative Arlan Strangeland, a position he held for eight years. Hagedorn then worked in the US Department of the Treasury.
Hagedorn wrote a now-defunct blog, Mr. Conservative, between 2002 and 2008. While progressive media outlets decried the blog as racist and misogynist, Hagedorn maintained that the blog “was intended to be humorous and satirical.” However, The Washington Examiner called Hagedorn “the worst midterm candidate in America in 2018” due to the blog’s content. Hagedorn still won the 2018 Congressional election by sixty percent of the vote.
Hagedorn’s vote was typically quite conservative. In 2020, he wrote that the Democratic Party is “at war with out country, our beliefs and western culture.” Hagedorn was one of 126 Republican representatives that signed a amicus brief in support of a court case that contested the results of the 2020 election. Hagedorn also objected to the certification of President Joe Biden in January 2021. Hagedorn did not back down on his beliefs, even when it cost him donations from corporations or drew him criticism from his opponents and the media. Hagedorn’s courage will not be forgotten.
Hagedorn served on a variety of committees in the House; he was a member of the Republican Study Committee, as well as the Committee on Agriculture and the Committee on Small Business.
Hagedorn was initially diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2018, shortly after he was sworn into office. He represented Minnesota’s First Congressional District, which is a rural area of the state. The Republican leadership in Washington, D.C. was informed of Rep. Hagedorn’s death by the Congressman’s office.
Hagedorn is the third member of the United States Representatives to pass away during the 117th Congress. Last year, Representative Ron Wright (R-TX) passed away last year, as did Representative Alcee Hastings (D-FL).
In December 2020, just weeks after being elected to the post, Representative-elect Luke Letlow (R-LA) died from complications of COVID-19. Letlow’s death was surprising as he was young, and he had no other health issues. Letlow’s wife, Julia, ran in a special election, and she now sits in the seat Luke was originally elected to sit in.
Hagedorn’s death now leaves two Republican vacancies in the United States House of Representatives. The other is due to the resignation of Representative Devin Nunez (R-CA), who left the post to become the CEO of Donald Trump’s new social media platform, Truth Media.
The resulting breakdown of the House of Representatives is now 222 Democrats, 211 Republicans, and the two vacancies.