Dan Feehan concedes 1st District race

Republican Jim Hagedorn (left) and Democrat Dan Feehan debated on MPR News Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. Tony Saunders | MPR News

More than a week after the election, Dan Feehan has officially conceded in the race for Minnesota’s 1st District.

The 1st District race was the closest congressional election in the state, with only 1,311 votes dividing Feehan from Republican Jim Hagedorn. Hagedorn, who made his fourth run at the seat this year, has been in Washington this week preparing to take office.

Feehan initially did not concede the race because there was a possibility the margin could fall within the state’s  threshold for a recount.

“Over the last week, counties across the district have engaged in the process of going back over precinct totals to make sure that their numbers were reported accurately. Today, the last county finished that exercise and the final count shows us still down a mere 0.45%, which is just shy of the margin that would trigger a recount,” Feehan wrote in a statement Friday afternoon.  “I congratulate Mr. Hagedorn on his victory and encourage him to represent each and every voice in Congress.”

It was one of the most-watched races in the nation, after incumbent DFL Rep. Tim Walz opted to run for governor. Outside groups spent nearly $14 million in the southern Minnesota congressional district to influence voters this fall. The conservative-leaning district elected Trump by 15 points two years ago but still sent Walz back to Congress.

Feehan, an Iraq War veteran and a former Pentagon official, ran as a moderate Democrat in the district, while Hagedorn, a former U.S. Treasury staffer, aligned himself with Donald Trump’s administration. Feehan has not said if he will seek the office again in 2020.

“Our effort this year was not in vain. We took a race that national pundits thought would be a landslide victory for the other side and made it the most competitive race in the country,” he continued. “Our community engagement and grassroots organizing forced dark money DC-based groups to spend millions against us in some of the darkest attack ads this country has witnessed.”

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