Last night, Democrat Jeff Ettinger, the former CEO of Hormel, lost out to Republican Brad Finstad in Minnesota’s special election for a congressional seat that was open because of the death of Republican incumbent Jim Haegdorn. Bad news for the Democrats? Well… yes and no. Their candidate lost, so that is never good. But it was a lot closer than it should have been in a red district in a red wave cycle. And Finstad was the mainstream Republican, not the the lunatic Trumpist, in the race. The PVI is R+7 and Trump beat Biden there 54.0% to 43.9%. The results of the special:
Finstad- 60,261 (50.83%)
Ettinger- 55,341 (46.68%)
Finstad and Ettinger, each of whom won their primary Tuesday, will square off again in November. As of the July 20 reporting deadline Ettinger had spent $1,210,724 ($900,000 of which from his own deep pockets) to Finstad’s $500,740.
This is how Finstad presented himself on the first page of his campaign site: “Brad Finstad is a conservative fighter running for Congress to fire Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House and put the brakes on the out-of-control Biden/Pelosi agenda that is fueling inflation and hurting Southern Minnesota families. Brad is proud to have served as President Donald J. Trump’s State Director for USDA Rural Development in Minnesota. Brad worked to support infrastructure improvements, business development, homeownership, community services such as schools, public safety and health care, and high-speed internet access in rural areas… Brad is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, defending the unborn, and keeping government out of the way so entrepreneurs, farmers, and small businesses can thrive.” He also noted that he is “pro-life” and that “We must protect human life no matter how small. Brad is proud to defend the sanctity of life and he will fight to protect all unborn human beings.”
Ettinger is a centrist Democrat, although he also ran as a strong supporter of women’s Choice. In November, the top of the ticket will feature Governor Tim Walz, a former congressman from the district. If I had to bet on November, though, I would bet on Finstad retaining the seat. The partisan lean of the district is R+14 and that's just too steep a hill for a Democrat this year.