Munson, Benda draw criticism of splitting GOP after both file for 1st Congressional District race

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Jun. 1—ROCHESTER — The Republican Party of Minnesota and 1st District Congressional leadership today accused state Rep. Jeremy Munson and attorney Matt Benda of dividing the party after both filed to run in the general election primary in the new 1st Congressional District.

The criticism comes a week after Brad Finstad won a primary to run as the GOP's nominee in the Aug. 9 special election in the current CD-1. Two days after winning the special election primary, Finstad was picked by party faithful at a convention in Owatonna to be the endorsed candidate for the general election in the newly redistricted CD-1.

Both Munson and Benda ran in the special election primary and lost.

"We are strongly disappointed to see Matt Benda and Jeremy Munson file a primary campaign in the First Congressional District," said GOP chairman David Hann. "Just a few days ago, First Congressional District Republicans overwhelmingly endorsed Brad Finstad — the only candidate who came before the convention's nominating committee.

"As former party officers at the BPOU and CD levels, Benda and Munson should have more respect for the Republican Party's endorsement," Hann added.

Munson did not respond to a phone call or text-message seeking comment.

The special election on Aug. 9 is being held to elect a successor to GOP Congressman Jim Hagedorn, who died in office in February, to serve out the remaining four months of his term in the current district.

The special election takes place on the same day the general election primary for the new CD-1 that was created as a result of redistricting.

In the 1st Congressional District statement, GOP leaders noted that Munson's decision to file in the primary contradicted his own previous expressions of support for Finstad following his victory in the special election primary. In that race, Finstad eked out a 427-vote victory over Munson, a three-term state representative, in a nine-member field.

"Exiting politics brings the reward of important time with my daughters, family vacations and lower stress," Munson is reported to have said after losing.

Former Hormel CEO Jeff Ettinger is running as the DFL Party's endorsed candidate in both the special election and general election. Richard Reisdorf and Haroun McClellan are running as candidates representing the two cannabis candidates in the special election.