Jason Lewis, a former congressman from Minnesota’s Second Congressional District and popular conservative radio host, announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate Thursday.
Lewis made the announcement during the first day of the Minnesota State Fair at the Minnesota Republican Party’s booth.
“This morning, Lewis for MN announced his run to defeat Senator Tina Flint Smith. Smith has joined the ranks of the far-left, more intent on serving as a roadblock to President Donald Trump instead of serving the people of Minnesota,” the Minnesota GOP wrote on Twitter.
This morning, @LewisforMN announced his run to defeat Senator Tina Flint Smith. Smith has joined the ranks of the far-left, more intent on serving as a roadblock to President @realdonaldtrump instead of serving the people of Minnesota. #mngop pic.twitter.com/ODvAN4s0tF
— MNGOP (@mngop) August 22, 2019
“Let the battle begin,” Lewis told a crowd of supporters gathered to hear his announcement. “Let’s have a battle about issues. Let’s have a battle about ideas. Let’s have a battle about life and liberty and property.”
Lewis has no plans to distance himself from the president, and has said as much in interviews leading up to his Thursday announcement.
“I agree with the president’s policies. I agree with a growing economy. I agree with finally stopping this influx of illegal immigration. I agree with energy independence. Anyone who wants to disagree with those policies, let them do it,” Lewis said Thursday.
Sen. Tina Smith, whom Lewis describes as the “accidental” senator, was also making the rounds at the State Fair Thursday morning and spoke with MPR News about her new opponent.
“There are big differences. Jason Lewis supported the Republican tax bill that gave giant tax cuts to big corporations and the richest among us, and I wouldn’t have supported that,” Smith said. “He voted to repeal the basic consumer protections that are in the Affordable Care Act. I’m opposed to that. So there are big differences. But, as I said, right now I’ve got 15 months to focus on being the very best senator that I can be and really fighting for Minnesotans, and that’s where my heart and mind is right now.”
As a former Planned Parenthood executive, Smith has come to be known as the “abortion senator” in conservative circles and voted against a bill earlier this year that would have provided protections for babies who survive botched abortions. She called these protections “inappropriate medical treatment.”
In an announcement video posted to Facebook Thursday, Lewis criticized Smith for “marching in lockstep” with the radical wings of the Democratic Party.
“I’m not going to do politics as usual. I’m going to speak from the heart. Today we are at a crossroads in Minnesota and across this country not seen since the chaos and turmoil of the 1960s,” Lewis said. “Private property, religious liberty, due process, the private citizenship, the national anthem, the Pledge of Allegiance, even Betsy Ross’ flag are now seen as dispensable relics to a radical political movement that appears to be gaining steam in the corridors of power.”
“It is a dangerous development. Indeed, the so-called resistance led by our own Ilhan Omar, with Tina Smith marching in lockstep, seem unaware of our founders’ genius in the Constitution. Instead, they want to debate whether we ought to even keep it,” Lewis continued. “I’m not going to sit on the sidelines. I’m going to fight back.”
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