The family of the late Congressman Jim Hagedorn has donated to, and reportedly voiced their support for, State Rep. Jeremy Munson and not the congressman’s wife, in the contest for his seat.
Hagedorn died in February, triggering a special election in Minnesota’s first district. Among the candidates to emerge in this unusual race are Munson and Hagadorn’s wife and former chair of the Minnesota GOP, Jennifer Carnahan. Despite Hagedorn’s relationship with Carnahan, his family supports Munson.
FEC filings show that one of Hagedorn’s sisters, Heidi Hagedorn Katz, donated $1,000 to Munson earlier this week. “She did let me know the whole family is supporting me,” Munson tells 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 adds.
The Hagedorn family has gone one step beyond just supporting his widow’s congressional challenger. They are also suing her to recoup medical expenses she allegedly promised to pay back. One of the late congressman’s sisters, Tricia Lucas, and his mother and stepfather, Robert and Kathleen Kreklau, say 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 Krekalus say they paid $25,000 of medical expenses, of which Hagedorn already reimbursed $14,000. Lucas says 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.
Carnahan is not favored to win her primary against frontrunners Munson, Brad Finstad and a handful of other candidates. Notably, Hagedorn’s former campaign manager who also worked on his congressional staff now works for Finstad. Carnahan does not seem to have support from any former Hagedorn staffers.
She is also mired in controversy since her disgraceful departure from the Minnesota GOP. She stepped down as chair last year after her connections to accused sex trafficker Anton Lazaro garnered negative attention.