Elections

Midterm 2018: Round Two for Minnesota’s Jason Lewis

U.S. representatives Jason Lewis (L) and Tom Emmer (C) speak with President Donald Trump in Minneapolis, October 4, 2018. ( Reuters/Leah Millis)
The conservative congressman is running against the same far-left Democrat he beat in 2016.

A Minnesota congressional battle is shaping up to be a fight over one candidate’s competency as well as who can give American children the better deal. In the match-up, conservative congressman Jason Lewis works to defeat his opponent, an abortion-lobby darling, for the second time.

Lewis is running for a second term representing Minnesota’s second congressional district, which he won in 2016 against Democrat Angie Craig. Now Craig is trying her luck against Lewis again, running on a platform of unrestricted abortion access.

“I support Planned Parenthood and will continue to fight to protect their funding,” she states on her campaign website.

Craig, who is married to a woman, is not as far-left on certain other issues as some of her fellow Democrats, who have proposed abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, for example. Craig said she believes that ICE plays “an important role in stopping drugs and human trafficking.”

Her abortion stance, however, is far to the left of that espoused by other Minnesota Democrats, such as Representative Collin Peterson, who represents the state’s seventh district and voted in favor of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

“If it’s influence-buying at the expense of human life you’re really concerned about, then no one comes close to Angie Craig in doing the bidding of her pro-abortion benefactors,” Lewis’s campaign manager Becky Alery said in a statement.

Craig, a former St. Jude Medical executive, is heavily funded by some of the most militant pro-abortion groups, including NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and Emily’s List. Former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards even hit the campaign trail for Craig last month at an “early vote rally” at the University of Minnesota.

“If you elect these outstanding women,” Richards said, referring to Craig and incumbent Democratic senator Tina Smith, “we’re going to change the country.”

Lewis counters that Craig is “very Clinton-esque” and that the result of putting radical Democrats like her in power would be “a country we wouldn’t recognize.”

“The government will grind to a halt, and we will have rewarded people espousing the most radical rhetoric,” Lewis said in an interview with National Review Online. “If you do that, you are playing with fire as a country.”

Lewis, a former conservative-radio broadcaster, calls the Democrats of today the “most radical Democrat party probably in history.”

“This institutional liberalism with which we’re surrounded is really astounding,” he added. “I think people are actually waking up to that now.”

Craig is also endorsed by some of the most controversial elements of the LGBT rights movement, including the Human Rights Campaign, which works to incorporate pro-LGBT views in the curricula of elementary schools.

Craig’s wife, Cheryl Greene, works as a deputy director for the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Welcoming Schools program. This program says it supports transgender and non-binary students and works in an “age-appropriate way” to prevent bias-based bullying. Their approach includes helping kids become “familiar with sexual orientation and gender identity terminology.” The curriculum also aims to help schools “understand the complexities of transitioning and know how to support students on this journey.”

“When my child transitioned, it was seamless and it was beautiful,” one mom featured in a Welcoming Schools’ promotional video said.

However, the HRC’s sex-education curriculum was condemned as “pornographic” by some parents, who organized a school walkout in several cities last spring to protest the material being taught to their children.

The approach of unquestioningly accepting children’s “preferred” gender roles remains controversial and is not backed by medical consensus. For instance, Dr. Kenneth Zucker, a leading researcher for decades at the prestigious Child Youth and Family Gender Identity Clinic, in Toronto, recommended a more cautious treatment of gender-dysphoric children. In 2016, the center fired him, at the urging of transgender activists.

Amid the transgender controversy, Craig plants herself firmly in the camp of extreme social liberalism.

Against this backdrop, her business practices have also raised eyebrows. She touted her work as executive for over a decade at St. Jude Medical, where she managed the company’s public relations and government lobbying. But after her questionable management record came to light, she downplayed her role for the company.

St. Jude settled with the Justice Department in 2011 and 2012 for close to $20 million over allegations that it had overcharged veterans and compensated physicians to use its merchandise. In 2016, investment group Muddy Water Capital determined that pacemakers and defibrillators manufactured by St. Jude were unprotected against hacking, sparking an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

“Now we find out that Craig may have known about the alleged vulnerabilities of hackable pacemakers and defibrillators, which would have directly placed people at risk,” Keith Downey, former chairman of the Minnesota Republican party, said at the time. “She needs to come clean with what she knew about the alleged vulnerabilities and what she did in the situation.”

Minnesota voters in Lewis’s district will have many factors to consider before they mark their ballot this November, including competency and honesty — but especially what they prefer the future of their children, born and unborn, to look like.

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