Election 2020 preview: Minnesota's Senate race

Incumbent Tina Smith will take on former Congressman Jason Lewis.
Author:
Publish date:
Jason Lewis and Tina Smith

Who’s running?

  • Sen. Tina Smith (D-inc)
  • Jason Lewis (R)
  • Oliver Steinberg (Grassroots - Legalize Cannabis)
  • Kevin O’Connor (Legal Marijuana Now) 

What happened last time?

After being appointed to fill the seat after the resignation of Al Franken, Sen. Tina Smith won a special election in 2018, beating Republican challenger and state Sen. Karin Housley with around 53% of the vote.

Smith previously served as the state’s lieutenant governor under Mark Dayton.

Jason Lewis formerly held the state's 2nd Congressional District seat in Congress. He was beat out by Democratic challenger Angie Craig in 2018, who won with more than 52% of the vote. 

The race so far:

Both Smith and Lewis won their August primaries by a comfortable margin. 

Lewis and Smith have both touted their previous records in Congress on the campaign trail. Smith has emphasized her work on healthcare issues, including lowering the price of prescription drugs and fighting the opioid epidemic. Smith has repeatedly pushed bipartisan work, pointing to legislation that has gained support from both sides of the aisle.

Lewis has pointed to his record on tax and spending cuts and infrastructure in the House of Representatives. He is also a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump. Lewis faced a health scare earlier this week when he was rushed into emergency surgery for a "life-threatening hernia." He has also recently had to quarantine twice due to COVID-19 exposures, and continues to attract national headlines for controversial comments he has made on women, race, and other issues during his former career as a radio host.

Where the candidates stand:

Smith has worked on a number of bills in the Senate related to healthcare costs in her first term in the Senate. The Stop Price Gouging Act, coauthored by Smith, would require drug companies to justify price increases on prescription drugs or face  financial penalties.

Smith also introduced legislation to prevent drug companies from monopolizing or obtaining exclusive licensing for a future COVID-19 vaccine.

Serving on the Senate Agriculture Committee, Smith also worked on provisions in the Farm Bill, including one that expands rural broadband.

Smith also voiced opposition of the appointment of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, citing concerns about the Affordable Care Act and abortion rights.

Jason Lewis was an author of the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2018 while serving in Congress. The bill prohibits youth incarceration for offenses like breaking curfew or skipping school. It also requires separation of youth from adult inmates.

Serving on the House Budget Committee, Lewis favored resolutions that included tax cuts and spending reductions.

Minneapolis Police Federation President Bob Kroll spoke in support of Lewis at an August “Back the Blue” event. Lewis is also endorsed by President Trump, of whom he is a vociferous supporter.

Smith and Lewis reportedly clashed at a virtual MPR event earlier this month, with Lewis criticizing Smith and her Senate colleagues for rejecting Republican COVID-19 assistance proposals. Smith called the plans inadequate and called for bipartisan work to strengthen the aid proposals.

Lewis has faced criticism during the campaign for his comments on COVID-19 mitigation measures at a time when cases have been surging across the nation, sparking an angry reaction from current Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan when he went on a radio show and described face masks as "muzzles" designed to enforce "total, absolute conformity."

Oliver Steinberg is a member of the Grassroots - Legalize Cannabis party, which achieved major party status in Minnesota in 2018.

Steinberg told WCCO he supports not only legalizing recreational marijuana, but erasing all past convictions related to the drug, with the exception of furnishing it to minors. Steinberg is also in favor of further taxes on oil companies and the country’s top income earners to transition the country to a renewable energy system.

Kevin O’Connor of the Legal Marijuana Now party, also now a major party, also supports the legalization of marijuana, along with any other drug that can benefit the health of individuals, according to the party’s website

You can find the candidate's issues pages here: 

– Sen. Tina Smith

– Jason Lewis (His site doesn't have an issues page, but here is his "About" section)

– Oliver Steinberg

– Kevin O'Connor (doesn't have his own site, so here's the Legal Marijuana Now site)

Next Up

Tim Walz

Gov. Tim Walz, MDH react to record-setting COVID-19 deaths

Minnesota can expect further bad news over the coming weeks.

covid-19, coronavirus

Record 101 COVID-19 deaths reported in Minnesota

The figures are from Wednesday, with no update provided on Thanksgiving.

Screen Shot 2020-11-27 at 9.29.12 AM

Target reveals its 'Cyber Week' online deals

The sales will run from Nov. 29 to Dec. 5.

Minneapolis police

Mayor Frey, Minneapolis police chief reveal new 'no-knock' policy

The new policy for Minneapolis Police Department was announced Wednesday.

Teddy Bridgewater

Coller: It's a what-if Sunday with Teddy Bridgewater's return

Matthew Coller writes a weekly Vikings column for BMTN, with more of his work found at Purple Insider.

Ambulance hospital emergency

15-month-old girl's death being investigated by police in Fargo

The child died four days after being found unresponsive.

PD Shimmers closeup

Man with Parkinson's lights up Plymouth with synchronized light show

"The best medicine I have for my disease is what I try to do with the light show," Mike Justak said.

Screen Shot 2020-11-25 at 7.34.43 AM

Watch: Drunk squirrel in Minnesota captures the world's attention

The squirrel was immediately cut off after nearly tipping over.

Screen Shot 2020-11-25 at 7.15.09 PM

Small town gym refusing to close facing lawsuit from attorney general

The gym is facing a lawsuit and a temporary restraining order to halt their operations.

Related

Jason Lewis and Tina Smith

Minnesota Primaries 2020: Here's where things stand

An official tally won't be compiled till later this week due to a late deadline for absentee votes.

Screen Shot 2019-08-22 at 10.35.20 AM

Jason Lewis announces run for Tina Smith's U.S. Senate seat

The former 2nd District congressman is a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump.

Hagedorn feehan

Election 2020 preview: Minnesota's 1st Congressional District

It's a race between incumbent Rep. Jim Hagedorn and Democratic challenger Dan Feehan.

Jason Lewis and Tina Smith

AP: Tina Smith beats Jason Lewis in U.S. Senate race

Smith didn't get the same level of votes as Biden, but did enough to beat Lewis.

CD4

Election 2020 preview: Minnesota's 4th Congressional District

In the 4th District, Republican challenger Gene Rechtzigel will take on incumbent Betty McCollum.

Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 8.13.55 AM

Election 2020 preview: Minnesota's 5th Congressional District

First-term incumbent Ilhan Omar will face Republican challenger Lacy Johnson.

Phillips qualls

Election 2020 preview: Minnesota's 3rd Congressional District

It's a race between Democratic incumbent Rep. Dean Phillips and political newcomer and Republican Kendall Qualls.

pete stauber - qunn nystrom CD8

Election 2020 preview: Minnesota's 8th Congressional District

It's a race between incumbent Rep. Pete Stauber and Democratic challenger Quinn Nystrom.