Updated: October 23, 2020 07:14 PM
Created: October 23, 2020 07:03 PM
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jason Lewis pulled into a dead heat with Democratic incumbent Sen. Tina Smith in our latest KSTP/SurveyUSA, with Smith leading 43 percent to 42 percent. She held an 11-point lead in September and a seven-point lead earlier this month. So Lewis doesn't plan to change anything about his campaign.
For months he's been bombarded with TV ads and direct mail pieces criticizing comments he made about women during a long talk radio career that ended several years ago. In one mailer, they quote him saying of women who care about birth control: "You're without a brain. You have no cognitive function whatsoever if that's all it takes to buy you off."
As with many other negative ads, they give no context for that statement. Lewis just rolls his eyes at the same attacks he faced during two campaigns for Congress, including a successful race for the U.S. House in 2016.
"How many years are they going to go back?" he asks of his critics who keep going after his talk radio record. "You know what's offensive? Offensive is post-birth abortion. When Tina Smith voted against the abortion survivors act, the born-alive abortion survivors act, and they're talking about what somebody said on the radio? We have democratic socialists looting, setting buildings ablaze, and they're talking about a talk show? It's not right resonating at all and we're fine if they want to keep spending money on that nobody cares but Tina Smith."
Lewis also recognizes he's hitched his campaign to that of President Donald Trump and will likely rise or fall with him. He has no second thoughts about defending how the president has handled the coronavirus pandemic.
"We've got to get Minnesota back to work," he says. "Protect the vulnerable. We'll have vaccines and therapeutics already coming, but for the vast majority of people this is not going to kill them. And we've never locked down an entire economy in previous pandemics whether it's the Hong Kong flu or the Spanish flu. This is the first time it's done and it's granted unprecedented power to government. If they can do it now, when's the next time they're going to lock down you and your family. You can't go to the barbecue, you can't go to the gun range and you can't go to church, that's ridiculous."
You can see the entire interview with Lewis Sunday on "At Issue with Tome Hauser" at 10 a.m.
Sen. Tina Smith was featured on "At Issue" last week.
Sen. Smith's interview is below
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