Minnesota’s Second Congressional District (MN-02) is open because Representative John Kline (R) has decided to go do more interesting things than be a congressman.
Currently the district is fairly well to do with an average income of $76,000. So naturally all of the people running are millionaires. Yes, that includes the Democrat. It is considered a battleground district since it has gone for Obama at the top of the ticket, even though it has gone Republican for about a decade at the House level.
The usual happenstance of a crowded field of Republicans fighting for the seat was the situation here with four Republicans battling it out. Two were simply regular Republicans, while two are very much of the Tea Party type. What was different this time was that the Republican establishment fell in line behind one of the extremists: Jason Lewis. He was the clear front runner, and managed to line up most of the major endorsements while having the highest name recognition. Not surprisingly, he ended up winning.
Republicans in the MN-02 Primary
The primary ran last Tuesday. But the field was interesting.
First, was former state senator and candidate for Minnesota Secretary of State, John Howe. He only served a single term as a state senator. But that did make him stand out: he had actually won elected office. None of the others have. He was largely self-funding, but that wasn’t a problem. Except that he lost with less than 14% of the vote.
Second, was Darlene Miller. She is a business owner. Thus, she had some advantages in being one of the demigods of the Republicans: a “job creator.” But otherwise, she didn’t offer much. She did have outgoing Congressman Kline’s endorsement for MN-02. It wasn’t enough, but she did manage to get almost 31% of the vote.
Third, was Matthew Erickson whose main selling point was his extremism. He served as a spokesman for Trump’s campaign as well as the volunteer coordinator for the state party. According to him, he was running because other politicians are cowards. Erickson does have some “interesting claims.” For example: he thinks he’s basically JFK:
Erickson’s goll-danged darnedest garnering him less than 7% of the vote.
Fourth, was Jason Lewis, the winner with 49% of the vote. His background is in radio. He’s had a local show going back 25 years. And he has been a bit outspoken in his right wing views, to say the least. His main focus has been taxes where he takes a fairly libertarian line.
Democrats in the MN-02 Primary
The Democrats started with a three person primary, but two of the candidates withdrew. That left just Angie Craig. She is a former medical executive. She has done very well with fundraising and has major endorsements from all of the usual liberal groups as well as the Democratic political establishment.
The MN-02 General Election
This race is rather like the national presidential race. Trump’s struggles thus far have moved this race from one that would clearly lean Republican to a toss-up.
The question is how tightly Craig will be able to duct tape Trump to Lewis. If this is a wave year, and there are signs pointing to this, MN-02 will be one of the 29 minimum seats that the Democrats need to pick up to flip the House.