Rep. Hagedorn says he has cancer but will run in November

U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn speaks at town hall in La Crescent, Minn.
First District U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn answers questions at a town hall in La Crescent, Minn., in September.
Catharine Richert | MPR News 2019

Updated: 8:25 p.m.

Minnesota U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn said he is being treated for stage 4 kidney cancer but is running for reelection in November.

In a statement Wednesday evening, Hagedorn said he has been treated at Mayo Clinic since the diagnosis a year ago. Hagedorn said he was given the “unexpected and rather shocking news” two months after marrying his wife, Minnesota GOP Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan, and six weeks into his job as Minnesota's 1st District representative.

The first-term Republican congressman also said he has not missed a vote because of illness and he is “a candidate for reelection in 2020.”

“I’ve been able to do my job, make hundreds of stops across the 1st District, hold 18 town hall meetings and make 39 round trips to and from Washington, D.C.,” he said in the statement. “This disease has not and will not deter me. I will keep fighting cancer.”

The 57-year-old said he is getting immunotherapy that the FDA recently approved as a kidney cancer treatment at Mayo in Rochester, Minn., located in his southern Minnesota district. Hagedorn said he was diagnosed during a routine exam before symptoms emerged.

His physician, Dr. Lance C. Pagliaro, oncology specialist at Mayo, said in the statement that Hagedorn has responded well to the treatment.

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“[Immunotherapy] has been key to his recovery. He is doing well,” Pagliaro said.

Carnahan said in a separate statement that it has been a challenging year but Hagedorn is making progress.

“As his wife and chair of our party, the past year hasn't been easy. We both remain committed to one another, our jobs, our state and our country,” she said. “We appreciate your positive thoughts and well wishes.”

Hagedorn narrowly beat Democrat Dan Feehan in 2018 for the seat that Democrat Tim Walz gave up for his successful run for Minnesota governor. Feehan has said he plans to seek a rematch with Hagedorn this year.

In a tweet following Hagedorn’s statement, Feehan said he is “saddened to hear about Congressman Hagedorn's cancer diagnosis.”

“Jim, Amy and I are keeping you, Jennifer and your whole family in our prayers and we are hoping for a full and speedy recovery,” said Feehan.

Hagedorn aligned himself tightly with President Trump during his campaign and has stood loyally by the president since then. Hagedorn, whose father, Tom Hagedorn, once represented some of the same territory in Congress, formerly worked as an aide to GOP Rep. Arlan Stangeland and in congressional liaison positions at the Treasury Department.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.