EXCLUSIVE: Lifelong friend of late Rep. Hagedorn says he never endorsed his wife, Carnahan, to run for his seat

A lifelong friend of Departed Congressman Jim Hagedorn says the representative never endorsed his wife, Jennifer Carnahan, to run for his seat — which she is doing anyway.

Jim Hagedorn/Facebook

A longtime friend and lifelong confidant of the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn says he never wanted Hagedorn’s widow to campaign for Hagedorn’s seat.

Hagedorn was married to former Minnesota GOP chair and current congressional candidate Jennifer Carnahan who hopes to fill his seat in DC after his unfortunate passing earlier this year. However, a close friend of the departed congressman now alleges that his friend wouldn’t have wanted this.

Paul Mugan reached out to Alpha News recently with a simple message: “Jim never endorsed her.”

“Jim spoke to me as long as he physically could before he passed,” Mugan said. “Jim had been dying for two years fighting the worst of cancers. I know what he did and didn’t do, and there is a reason there is no real-time endorsement of her, because it never happened.”

Mugan is not alone in making this observation. He noted that “Jim told many others [Carnahan] was not his choice to succeed him.”

Alpha News has independently identified another close Hagedorn confidant who also says the congressman never wanted his wife to succeed him. Rather, Mugan said that “if he were a constituent in the First District, Jim Hagedorn would vote for Jeremy Munson.”

Mugan said he first met Hagedorn in 1989 and that they lived in the same DC house for most of the 90s where they coordinated professionally and built a lasting friendship. The two worked together as staff in former Rep. Arlan Stangeland’s office when he represented Minnesota. Mugan described their relationship as “brothers.”

Many years later, Hagedorn and Mugan both received cancer treatment at Mayo Clinic during the same period of time.

“Jim and I went through all of that together,” he recalled to Alpha News, furnishing a photograph of himself and Hagedorn standing outside the famous hospital.

Alpha News also received a large collection of other photographs of Hagedorn that Mugan amassed over the years.

Top left: Hagedorn and Mugan pose with Mugan’s son, decades ago; Bottom left: Hagedorn and Mugan outside Mayo Clinic where they concurrently received cancer treatment; Right: Hagedorn and Mugan stand for a photo directly after Hagedorn won his congressional seat (All photos courtesy of Paul Mugan)

Now, Mugan has set himself on writing a biography of his late friend saying “Jim’s life in politics is a phenomenal story.”

Meanwhile, members of Hagedorn’s family are suing Carnahan and endorsing Jeremy Munson, a State Representative running to fill the empty seat in Minnesota’s first district.

Specifically, one of the late congressman’s sisters, Tricia Lucas, and his mother and stepfather, Robert and Kathleen Kreklau, said they paid for their relative’s cancer treatment with the understanding that if he recovered he’d pay them back but if he passed away Carnahan would repay them using inherited money.

In total, the Kreklaus said they paid $25,000 of medical expenses, of which Hagedorn already reimbursed $14,000. Lucas said she paid $10,000.

Upon Hagedorn’s death, Carnahan received $174,000 of congressional death benefits and another $174,000 of life insurance payments, per the lawsuits. She has reportedly failed to use any of this money to repay her late husband’s family.

Another one of Hagedorn’s sisters, Heidi Hagedorn Katz, recently donated $1,000 to Munson.

“She did let me know the whole family is supporting me,” Munson told Alpha News. “I told the entire Hagedorn family that I am extremely grateful to have their support. Jim was a wonderful friend, mentor and representative of our district. We campaigned together for years and I look forward to carrying on the legacy of my friend,” he added.


Kyle Hooten

Kyle Hooten is Managing Editor of Alpha News. His coverage of Minneapolis has been featured on television shows like Tucker Carlson Tonight and in print media outlets like the Wall Street Journal.