In Hagedorn issues apology for statements; Faces Republican criticism, admits DWI conviction, Mankato Free Press reporter Josh Moniz fleshes out a couple of storylines that developed following the Blue Earth man's surprise August 12 primary win.
First, there's more about the non-apology apology Hagedorn posted on Facebook--and a possible reason why the Republican campaign scrubbed Facebook fans attacks on Congressman Walz's 1995 Nebraska traffic stop.
Moniz writes at the end of the article:
Baker's letter also claimed Hagedorn had two DWI arrests. Baker didn't respond to questions about his claims. In an interview, Hagedorn said he pleaded guilty to a DWI charge when he was a young adult. He said he accepts responsibility and regrets his actions.
"I had one mistake more than three decades ago. It wasn't my proudest moment. Luckily, nobody got hurt," Hagedorn said.
He said the arrest occurred in 1983 while he was living in Fairfax County in Virginia. He said he told Republican leaders in 2010 and 2014 prior to running for the endorsement.
It speaks well of Hagedorn's campaign that it scrubbed this exchange by supporters from its Facebook page before the Republican Party of Minnesota press conference about apologies:
It's possible that Mr. Goettl's first remark, which dangled on the page for a least half a day, might have started some word-of-mouth snark, but with the media event in the Cities looming, the exchange was scrubbed. Hagedorn at least isn't engaging in glasshouse politics on old traffic stops.
Nonetheless, the supporter's prefatory remark, "Exercising 1st Amendment right that causes whining libs to get their unda-britches all wadded up is viciously frowned upon...", illustrates a fundamental misunderstanding of free speech that some Americans share.
Mr. Hagedorn had the right to post his thoughts on "Mr. Conservative," and his readers had the right to share their opinions of them as racist, sexist and homophobic. It wasn't a government censor or progressives who scrubbed Hagedorn's blog. It was Jim Hagedorn.
Moniz looks at the Facebook apology in the light of tensions within the Republican Party in Southern Minnesota. His lede illustrates where Goettl might have taken the hint about framing this as a First Amendment issue:
Republican congressional candidate Jim Hagedorn apologized Sunday for controversial blog posts he made a decade ago about women, Native Americans and other groups. But the apology he posted on Facebook focused mostly on criticizing liberals and people dwelling on “political correctness.”
The national attention on the Blue Earth resident's writing is occurring as divisions surface among Republican activists in Minnesota's 1st Congressional District in the wake of his Aug. 12 primary victory over endorsed Republican candidate Aaron Miller of Byron.
Hagedorn won 54 percent of the primary votes. He will face Democrat incumbent Rep. Tim Walz of Mankato in the November election.
The Mankato Free Press notes that many Miller supporters in the area oppose formally endorsing their party's primary winner:
Some Republican activists are also expressing frustration with Hagedorn about his victory over the endorsed candidate. The majority of Miller supporters interviewed by The Free Press indicated they were willing to vote for Hagedorn in the general election. But they strongly opposed the party endorsing Hagedorn.
1st District Republican Chair Carol Stevenson indicated on primary night the party might hold an endorsement convention in Mankato. But the party has not yet announced any plans. Hagedorn said he is not actively seeking a post-primary endorsement.
Well then. Read all of Moniz's article. Here's a copy of the email from Baker that the enterprising journalist received and is posted at the Mankato Free Press. We'vd downloaded and embedded the document below:
Heather Carlson had another take on the Baker email on Friday in Fillmore County GOP chairman: Hagedorn doesn't deserve endorsement.
Photo: Jim Hagedorn, via Facebook.
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