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Tuesday Election Could Provide Clarity In Up-For-Grabs 1st Congressional District

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- On Tuesday, voters in Minnesota's 1st Congressional District go to the polls to select candidates to run for the seat of late Congressman Jim Hagedorn. The district stretches across southern Minnesota from Rochester to Worthington.

The primary ballot features 20 candidates from four different parties, including the two marijuana parties.

Jeffrey Ettinger is the former CEO of Hormel. He easily won the DFL nomination.

"He is going to be able to connect to those folks in southern Minnesota as an ag leader," DFL strategist Abou Amara said. "This is an opportunity for Democrats to pick up this seat."

None of the three leading Republican candidates -- Jennifer Carnahan, Brad Finstad or Minnesota Rep. Jeremy Munson -- won the Republican Party endorsement. Munson did get the most convention delegates and is perhaps best known for proposing a bill to allow Minnesota counties to secede and become part of South Dakota.

"He's got a little bit of the Trump flavor to him," Republican strategist Amy Koch said. "That is something that is still playing well in the Republican Party, particularly in Greater Minnesota."

Finstad, a businessman and former Trump appointee, has the backing of establishment Republicans, including Reps. Pete Stauber and Michelle Fischbach.

Carnahan, Hagedorn's widow, has weathered several controversies. The latest is that she is being sued by her late husband's family to the tune of thousands of dollars, for cancer treatments for the late congressman that they paid for. Carnahan says the matter needs to go to probate court.

in the end this May primary will come down to turnout, and that is expected to be very low -- 700,000 people live in the district, and the Secretary of State reports 40,000 absentee ballots were requested during early voting. So far just 10,000 have been returned.

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