MEMO: The Case Against Jason Lewis
TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Sacha Haworth, DCCC Great Lakes Press Secretary
DATE: August 9, 2016
With Lewis, Republicans admit: “This seat is lost. He’s twice as bad as Donald Trump.”
Tonight’s Republican primary in Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District marks the beginning of the general election race. Unfortunately for Jason Lewis, the newly-emerged Republican nominee, businesswoman Angie Craig has been running unopposed since January, speaking with voters and raising resources, while Lewis has been running his bank account into the red throughout his months-long four-way GOP primary.
Plagued with publicly embarrassing recruitment failures from day one, with more popular and well-known local Republicans one-by-one passing on running, National Republicans tried to no avail to get Jason Lewis out of the race, promoting other candidates and condemning his past remarks. And in a cringe-worthy moment for the Republican establishment, Lewis ended up winning the GOP endorsement.
Jason Lewis thought he was being clever when he scrubbed all of his talk show archives from his website upon announcing his congressional run. But he failed to remember that the internet is forever, and he will be forced to defend every sexist, racist, misogynistic, and flat-out bizarre comment he has ever made.
Meanwhile, businesswoman Angie Craig has spent the better part of a year hitting the road, getting to know voters – especially persuadable independents – and raising the resources she needs to communicate her message in this “Toss-Up/Tilt Democratic” race. Angie Craig is already touting her business experience on the airwaves, has dozens of volunteers knocking on thousands of doors, and has more than $1.7 million on hand, ensuring that Democrats will be turning this red seat blue in November.
WITH LEWIS, REPUBLICANS ADMIT “THIS SEAT WILL BE LOST”
Minnesota Republicans are not looking forward to the next three months. Truth be told, they never had the best lot to choose from; we can see why outgoing Rep. John Kline was famously “disappointed” and “concerned” in the field of candidates – and why Republicans openly admit “This seat will be lost.”
Now they’re stuck with Jason Lewis, a former ultra-right-wing talk show host from Minnesota – called “Minnesota’s Mr. Right” by the Minnesota Tea Party and endorsed by the shadowy Freedom Club – who has made his name tearing down women and minorities on the air. Lewis now is running from his right-wing record: as soon as he announced his congressional run, he scrubbed all of his talk show archives from his website.
It’s not hard to see the Donald Trump comparison:
- Lewis has called women “ignorant” and “non-thinking” because they’re more concerned about “the issue of somebody else buying their diaphragm.”
- Lewis defended Todd Akin (the former Missouri senatorial candidate) for his outrageous remarks on “legitimate rape,” saying that consensual acts of sex later turn into allegations of rape “all the time.”
- Lewis has even seemed to imply that slavery was okay when he questioned the federal government’s decision to end slavery(?!), declared that Abraham Lincoln “exploited the issue,” and declined to say whether or not he believed the Civil War was even worth fighting.
When even the Republican establishment has denounced his commentary, you know Jason Lewis is too conservative for Minnesota. Jason Lewis’s right-wing, Tea Party image is not what Minnesota’s 2nd District voters want, and will surely turn off the crucial Independent and moderate vote this November.
ANGIE CRAIG FAR AHEAD
Jason Lewis has gained more of a reputation for his mouth than for his ability to raise money; not only is Lewis too extreme for the district, he is now also at a severe cash disadvantage. Lewis has never topped more than $130,000 a quarter, and spent the majority of what he raised throwing elbows at his opponents and fielding attacks from his fellow Republicans.
After this bitter and nasty GOP primary, Lewis has emerged limping into the general election, with only just over $100,000 on hand. That is about $1.6 million less than Craig, and $500,000 less than Craig raised last quarter alone.
By comparison, businesswoman Angie Craig has been running unopposed since January, and recently went up on television touting her years of executive experience employing veterans at St. Jude Medical. Not only has Angie outraised every one of her Republican opponents, her dozens of volunteers have been canvassing the district for more than a year – speaking not only to fellow Democrats but also to moderate Republicans and independents, voters turned off by the extreme right-wing politics of politicians like Jason Lewis.
Angie has also been uniting Minnesotans behind her campaign, earning the support of the DFL, Attorney General Lori Swanson, AFL-CIO, the Teamsters, Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, End Citizens United, and many more.
MINNESOTA’S 2ND DISTRICT
Minnesota’s 2nd District is an open seat that President Obama won in both 2008 and 2012. Despite having been represented by Republican John Kline for the past 13 years, the messy Republican primary and the strong candidacy of Angie Craig have moved prominent, non-partisan racewatchers (Cook Political Report, Rothenberg & Gonzales, and Sabato’s Crystal Ball) to rate this a Toss-Up. Both Minnesota senators win here with strong margins. In a presidential year with a strong, well-funded, and universally respected candidate like Angie Craig, Democrats are in a prime position to win this seat.
This November, voters in the independent-minded 2nd District will have a clear choice between right-wing Tea Partier Jason Lewis and well-funded, well-liked Angie Craig, a candidate who seeks to unite, not divide.