ALBERT LEA, Minn. (AP) — Republican Matt Benda dropped out of the congressional race in southern Minnesota’s 1st District on Thursday, just two days after he filed paperwork to challenge the party’s endorsed candidate for the open seat formerly held by the late U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn.
Benda, an agricultural attorney from Albert Lea, finished fourth in last week’s special primary for the chance to fill out the rest of Hagedorn’s term. The winner was former USDA official Brad Finstad, who is also running to represent the district in the next Congress, too.
Benda said in a statement that the “unique circumstances” of the complicated schedules of special and regular elections to fill the seat, and federal election reporting requirements, needed to be resolved before he could formally withdraw from the race. He said Finstad has his full support.
Remaining in the race was state Rep. Jeremy Munson, another Republican candidate for the congressional seat, who also drew fire from party leaders for filing on Tuesday to run in the regular primary Aug. 9 for taking the seat next year.
The Republican Party of Minnesota and the district GOP committee said it applauded Benda “for honoring the endorsement and ending his primary campaign.” They called on Munson to do the same.
The endorsed Democratic candidate is former Hormel Foods chief executive Jeff Ettinger.
Also Thursday, election officials approved a petition filed Tuesday by a third-party gubernatorial candidate to get on the ballot. Entrepreneur Hugh McTavish of the Independence-Alliance Party announced his candidacy in April. Another third-party candidate, former broadcast personality Cory Hepola of Andrew Yang’s Forward Party, dropped out Tuesday.
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Source: CBS Minnesota