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Voter guide: Here’s where the U.S. House candidates in CD2 stand on key issues

Angie Craig and Jason Lewis

Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District race has garnered national attention as one of the most competitive midterm elections.

The election is a rematch between democrat Angie Craig and first-term incumbent Rep. Jason Lewis, a republican who won the open seat in 2016 by 2 percentage points. The district is considered a “battleground,” with both parties hoping to snag it as they seek majority of the U.S. House.

It’s also traditionally been a swing district. Voters supported former President Barack Obama by one-tenth of a percentage point in 2012. In 2016, voters backed President Donald Trump by 2 percentage points.

The district covers a range of suburban and rural communities, with 87 percent of voters living in the suburbs. You can find in-depth information on the district’s demographics from this tool from the U.S. Census:

The race is also one of the most expensive in Minnesota: From January 2017 through Sept. 30 2018, Craig raised $4,238,309.54 and Lewis had aggregated $2,476,762.82 according to Federal Election Commission filings, which update each fiscal quarter.

Craig and Lewis are both multi-millionaires who had not held public office prior to running for this seat. Both have children and live in the south suburban area — Craig in Eagan, and Lewis in Woodbury, which is in District 4. Lewis is one of at least 21 U.S. representatives to not live in the district they serve.

RiverTown Multimedia spoke with each candidate about their background, qualifications and what they see as key issues. Click here for the full Q&A with Lewis, and here for Craig.

The candidates will debate live Friday, Oct. 19 on TPT Almanac, and a taped debate will air on KSTP on Oct. 21. On Oct. 25 at 9 a.m., Craig and Lewis will participate in a public debate at Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount.

Voting closes on Tuesday, Nov. 6. You can find your polling place here.

Where the candidates stand

Data source: Google Trends

Compared to other highly searched topics, “health care” has dominated Google searches since January 2017, data show.  

Climate change

Lewis:

  • I do think the world is warm. I am not certain as to the catastrophic consequences nor man’s contribution,” he told RiverTown Multimedia. “I believe in climate change, the climate changes all the time. I think the way the phrase is put out there is so nebulous, and so vague, as to elicit a variety of responses.”
  • Opposes Clean Power Plan, citing risk to jobs at refineries
  • Supports nuclear power

Craig:

  • There’s no denying it. Climate change is happening,” she told RiverTown Multimedia. “I think it’s really important that we invest in policies that promote and support renewable energy.”

Health care

Lewis:

  • Said he would “make certain” that pre-existing conditions are protected in future legislation
  • Emphasizes getting young and healthy people into the insurance pool, which he says would lower premiums
  • Voted for the Affordable Health Care Act

Craig:

  • Supports a buy-in model for Medicare, allowing people of all ages to purchase the plan. She argues that adding Medicare to the competition could cause other insurers to lower premiums
  • Emphasizes the need for lower prescription drug prices. Says that we should allow Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies

Taxes

Lewis:

Craig:

  • Advocates for tax cuts for the middle class and small businesses
  • Wants to close “tax loopholes” that “encourage” companies to move jobs to other countries

Gun control

Lewis:

  • Prioritizes funding initiatives, such as hiring resource officers or installing vestibules in schools, to keep schools safer. He voted for the STOP School Violence Act, which passed in the House, 407-10. The bill authorizes the Department of Justice to administer up to $50 million annually in grants for initiatives such as safety training, and $25 million annually for physical improvements at schools, such as enhanced technology, locks and metal detectors.
  • Supports “preserving and protecting” the Second Amendment.
  • In an interview with RiverTown Multimedia, he emphasized making resources available for communities while allowing them to make decisions at a local level. He claimed that because most gun crimes happen with weapons purchased illegally, gun control laws shouldn’t be the focus in improving safety.

Craig:

Agriculture

Lewis:

  • Supports renewing the 2008 Farm Bill, which expired Sept. 30. The House version of the bill differs from the Senate version, particularly with deeper cuts to food stamps. Lewis told RiverTown Multimedia he supported the legislation, which said 20 hours of work or training per week would be required to attain the food stamp benefits outlined in the bill.
  • Argues that the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps’ “water of the USA” rule hurts property rights
  • Supports “trade deals that remove barriers to Minnesota agribusiness exports”
  • Calls for lowering taxes for farmers

Craig:

  • Says adopting a Medicare buy-in model would help rural and farm communities by giving them another option; claims many in rural areas only have one health care option
  • Supports investing in high-speed internet in rural areas; claims this would open up opportunities for using technology in agriculture, health care and education
  • Supports renewing a Farm Bill that ““ensures a stable and strong crop insurance program as a safety net for our farmers, and at the same time provides adequate funding for SNAP and other nutrition programs that help bridge gaps for families in Minnesota. If we make sure that fresh food is covered under SNAP that is a win-win.”
  • “The biggest thing we can do for America’s farmers is make sure they can get a fair price for the products they are growing and make sure that they have opportunities to sell those products around the world,” she told RiverTown Multimedia

Higher education

Lewis:

  • Supports opening opportunities for high school students to earn credit at community and technical schools while still in college.
  • Emphasizes the need for technical skills in workforce development. Supports “more competition in higher education and a greater emphasis on less expensive vocational and tech training”

Craig:

  • Supports including two years at a community or technical school, after graduating high school, as part of a free, public education.
  • Emphasizes the need for technical skills in job market

K-12 education

Lewis:

  • Supports merit pay, school choice and collective-bargaining reform
  • Prioritizes local control

Craig:

  • Supports raising teacher pay and giving teachers tax credits if they use their own money to buy classroom supplies
  • Emphasizes need for funding special education and early childhood care

Abortion

Lewis:

  • Pro-life
  • Voted to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy
  • Voted to repeal a rule that requires state and local governments use federal funding at qualified health centers, including ones that perform abortions
  • Voted to ban federal funding for abortion, including health coverage for the procedure

Craig:

  • Pro-choice
  • I support full reproductive rights for women and access to contraception and family planning services”
  • Says she will oppose legislation that “eliminates contraceptive and family planning services coverage from the ACA guarantee”