Dear Fellow Republicans,

As a lifelong resident of southern Minnesota, an active Republican and former Chair of Minnesota’s 2nd District Republican Party from 1994-2001, where I helped Mark Kennedy defeat a 4-term incumbent Democrat Congressman, I am concerned about the exaggerations being made that candidate Jim Hagedorn is less than a true Minnesotan.

The charge is both groundless and silly because Jim Hagedorn is the only candidate in the race for Congress who was born and raised in Minnesota! The other three candidates, including Tim Walz, are from out-of-state and didn’t arrive in Minnesota until their mid-to-late 20s or 30s.

Jim was born in Blue Earth where his four grandparents lived (and are buried) and the city where his parents attended school and were married. Jim currently resides in Blue Earth, where he regularly attends St. Paul Lutheran Church, Missouri-Synod and enjoys the company of relatives and close friends.

When Jim was very young the Hagedorn’s moved from Blue Earth to their newly purchased farm located 4 miles northeast of Truman. The Hagedorn and Breitbarth farms were adjoined fence-row-to-fence-row. Jim and I attended St. Paul’s Lutheran School together and our families were always good neighbors to each other. I have been friends with Jim Hagedorn for 46 years and can vouch that he is a good man who has devoted his life to fighting for conservatism at the national level and being loyal to his family and friends.

It was a huge honor for our small rural town of Truman when one of our own, Jim’s dad, Tom Hagedorn, was elected to represent southern Minnesota in Congress from 1975-1983. Being a congressman with young children is very difficult, and as was customary at the time, families of Congressmen and women moved to Washington to stay together, but the Hagedorn’s still farmed in Truman and lived and farmed in Truman during the summer.

As a Minnesota resident, Jim cast his first Presidential vote for Ronald Reagan in 1980. He attended George Mason University and graduated with a degree in Government and Politics, and worked for former conservative Minnesota 7th District Congressman Arlan Stangeland from age 22 thru 29. So, for the first 29 years of Jim’s life he was born in Minnesota, raised on a farm in Minnesota, a resident of Minnesota or worked for a Minnesota congressman, supporting our county, state and Republican Party.

While serving as Senior Legislative Assistant for Congressman Stangeland, Jim fought for conservative change. Jim’s record includes:

  • Managing the House Republican Caucus’s national work-for-welfare bill, a legislative concept that was later enacted into law by Clinton and Gingrich

  • Working with national firearms’ rights organizations, including the NRA, to help enact the McClure-Volkmer Act and defend 2nd Amendment Rights

  • Championing national Right to Life legislation, and

  • Serving with the team that helped President Reagan defeat the Soviet Union and restore America’s economy, military and national spirit.

Later Jim worked as a Congressional Relations Officer in two non-partisan Treasury agencies, where he used his executive positions to identify areas of inefficiency and manage legislation to reform the federal government, cut his own agency and defend the taxpayers. The highlight of Jim’s efforts was enactment of landmark national legislation, the “Electronic Funds Transfer ’99 Act,” which led to the closure of four national check writing centers, elimination of over 100 bureaucrat jobs and federal cost savings of more than $1.5 billion.

Jim gave up his secure executive position and returned home in 2009 to challenge Tim Walz, traveling the 1st Congressional District to reconnect with old friends and making many new ones. The 2010 race served as a great learning experience for Jim and people are seeing a more skilled and driven candidate in his 2014 campaign.

After the 2010 election, Jim focused on two important personal matters. First he committed to continuing his relationship with his girlfriend (who lived in San Diego with her three children from a previous marriage) hoping things would lead to marriage. After spending quality time together and based upon reflection and prayer, it was decided mid-2011 that marriage was not meant to be.

At the very time one monumental pathway in Jim’s life was closing, another was opening, albeit one filled with great tragedy. Jim received word that his best friend of 30 years was stricken with ALS – a horrible terminal illness. Jim set aside his life and devoted the better part of two years to help his friend, his friend’s wife and family, deal with the physical and emotional demands of the fast-progressing illness. Sadly, Jim’s friend passed away this past September, about the time Jim began running a full time, insurgent challenger campaign against Tim Walz.

Some have raised concerns that the Democrats will attempt to use these experiences against Jim, but I highly doubt Tim Walz and the DFL will be very effective attacking Jim for committing to a personal relationship and then serving as a caregiver for his terminally ill best friend. When alerted to this, most voters will respect Jim’s devotion and view him as a good and compassionate person worthy of serving as 1st District congressman.

If working full-time on a campaign is an indicator of who is devoted to this race and the people of southern Minnesota, then Jim is by far the most committed candidate. Jim gave up everything in his life, including his emerging Minnesota small business and another private sector venture, and has been working 18 hour days, 6-7 days a week since announcement. Check out Jim’s website and Facebook page to see where he’s been, what he’s done and just exactly how Jim has been waging a general election type of issue-based campaign against Tim Walz, not against his fellow Republicans.

Jim knows that the work he puts in contrasting our conservative vision with Tim Walz’s liberal record will help whichever candidate our party endorses. Isn’t that a better approach than attacking fellow Republicans?

I am proud to call Jim Hagedorn my friend, and I am proud to stand beside him in his race for Congress. If you want to know more about Jim, I invite you to email me at

Please join us as we continue our campaign to restore America’s greatness.


Neal Breitbarth

Delegate, Martin County

2579 Stella Court

Fairmont, MN 56031