2020 Minnesota Senate Candidate Guide

Jason Lewis (Republican)
Jason Lewis (Republican)
Tina Smith (Democrat (DFL) - Incumbent)
Tina Smith (Democrat (DFL) - Incumbent)

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AFFORDABLE CARE ACT- Support Affordable Care Act (ACA)?

Jason Lewis – No. Will “repeal and replace Obamacare” and replace it with “patient-centered reforms.”

Tina Smith – Yes. Wants to “build on” the ACA, to have “affordable, good quality health care … no matter who you are.”

CAMPAIGN FINANCE – Limit campaign spending and require political advertisers to disclose their largest funders?

Jason Lewis – No. Supports Citizen United decision. Says courts have “previously struck down laws limiting campaign spending.”

Tina Smith – Yes.  Co-sponsored DISCLOSE Act, requiring campaign groups to disclose donors’ names.  Would reverse Citizens United decision.

CLIMATE CHANGE – Address as a top priority by taxing or limiting output of greenhouse gases?

Jason Lewis – No. Says “market forces and technology” can control carbon emissions. Opposes carbon tax. Voted to weaken environmental regulation.

Tina Smith – Yes. Emphasizes incentives for renewable energy more than taxes or limits. Helped introduce the Clean Economy Act in 2020.

CLIMATE CHANGE – Consider human-caused climate change a serious threat? 

Jason Lewis – No. “Has it warmed? You bet. I’m just not convinced it’s due to carbon emissions.”

Tina Smith – Yes. “Climate change is real and poses a threat to our economy and our health.”

COURTS – SUPREME COURT NOMINATIONS – Pick Ruth Bader Ginsburg replacement for Supreme Court now or let November winner choose?

Jason Lewis – Now. The “will of the people” is behind the quick confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett. See CEEP Supreme Court guide.

Tina Smith – Wait. Current rush to replace Ginsburg—after 10-month blocking of Obama from nominating Scalia’s successor—is “hypocrisy.” See CEEP Supreme Court guide.

COVID-19 – Support administration’s response to coronavirus pandemic?

Jason Lewis – Yes. Says lawmakers have gone too far with shutdown measures against the virus. “The cure cannot be worse than the disease!”

Tina Smith -No. “I think that the president’s handling of the pandemic has been a disaster.”

COVID CRISIS – ECONOMIC RESPONSE – Support administration’s economic response to coronavirus pandemic?

Jason Lewis – Yes. Has questioned accuracy of COVID death statistics and launched campaign and lawsuit over shutdowns in MN. Says “small mom and pops” suffer economically from shutdown.

Tina Smith – No. Says administration is “slashing unemployment benefits, … one of our most critical pandemic relief safety nets while also putting Social Security and Medicare at risk.”

EDUCATION – Use public funding for private and/or for-profit schools?

Jason Lewis – Yes. “School choice has always been important, but it’s especially relevant now.”

Tina Smith – No. “School vouchers create a two-tiered education system while diverting critical resources from the public schools.”

ENVIRONMENT – Tighten or loosen environmental regulations?

Jason Lewis – Loosen. Opposes carbon tax and argues “the hard environmental left” is hampering the state’s energy, mining, and logging industries.

Tina Smith – Tighten. Is fighting Trump administration’s efforts to “roll back responsible environmental policy.”

FINANCIAL REGULATION – Tighten or loosen regulation of banks and credit card companies?

Jason Lewis – Loosen. Voted to roll back parts of Dodd-Frank and to repeal guidance to help consumers prevent markups on auto loans.

Tina Smith – Tighten. Signed letter to Senate leadership opposing rule change that would hurt access to credit by communities of color.

GUN RULES –Enact more restrictive legislation on firearms?

Jason Lewis – No. Said after a school shooting that gun control laws “would not have stopped” it. Favors funding to schools to enhance security.

Tina Smith – Yes.  Supports “common-sense gun laws” to keep guns from criminals and some other individuals.  Would ban bump stocks, assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

IMMIGRATION – Support expanded border walls?

Jason Lewis – Yes. Voted in favor of border-wall funding. But opposed banning entry to the U.S. for green-card holders.

Tina Smith – No. Voted against funding for the border wall. Supports “fiscally efficient methods to secure our border.”

IRAN – Oppose military attacks on Iran without congressional approval?

Jason Lewis -No. “The strike against Qasem Soleimani was undertaken to protect USA personnel abroad and as such I support this action.”

Tina Smith – Yes. Co-sponsored bill directing president not to order attacks without congressional approval. Said she was “gravely concerned” Trump lacked strategy to prevent escalation.

LABOR – Support “right to work” laws, eliminating the ability of unions to mandate dues for workers they represent?

Jason Lewis – Yes. Supports local right-to-work laws, saying it shouldn’t be a crime for someone not to join a union, but doesn’t believe they should be imposed nationally.

Tina Smith – No. Introduced bill to prevent states from passing right-to-work laws. Workers have the right to “join together for fair wages, benefits and improved working conditions.”

LEGAL ABORTION – Keep legal or ban?

Jason Lewis – Ban. Is anti-abortion, and “believes life begins at conception.” Supports making Hyde Amendment permanent.

Tina Smith – Keep legal. Women should “have the freedom to decide when and how to raise a family.”

LGBT RIGHTS – Support efforts to end discrimination against LGBTQ people?

Jason Lewis – No. Says ruling legalizing marriage equality “would undo the entire state criminal code because we’re all treated unequally.”

Tina Smith – Yes.  Supports “marriage equality” and “LGBTQ equality.”

MARIJUANA – Legalize marijuana?

Jason Lewis – Can legalize state by state, not federally. Supports states’ rights to determine their marijuana policies without federal interference.

Tina Smith – Yes. Introduced a bill this year to legalize marijuana for recreational use nationwide.

MINIMUM WAGE – Raise federal hourly minimum wage above current $7.25?

Jason Lewis – No. “Minimum-wage hikes cause unemployment among the least-skilled people.”

Tina Smith – Yes. Co-sponsored legislation to raise federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024, which would “raise the wages of nearly 40 million people.”

PLANNED PARENTHOOD – Support Planned Parenthood’s receiving public funds for non-abortion care? 

Jason Lewis – No. Voted for 2017 bill to defund organizations that provide abortions as part of their healthcare services.

Tina Smith – Yes. Opposed proposal to block state family planning grants to Planned Parenthood.

POLICE Reform – Restrict police use of force and increase public oversight?

Jason Lewis – No. Has objected to some of the calls for police reform, saying they are going too far.

Tina Smith – Yes. Supports comprehensive police-reform legislation that would end practices such as choke holds and no-knock warrants.

PRESIDENT TRUMP – Support Trump impeachment?

Jason Lewis – No. “From judges to jobs, Donald J. Trump keeps racking up the wins and delivering on his promises to the American people.”

Tina Smith – Yes. Voted to impeach. Trump’s abuses of power are grave offenses that threaten the constitutional balance of power.”

SAUDI ARABIA – Block arms sales to Saudi Arabia?

Jason Lewis – Unclear. Has been critical of Saudi Arabia and said U.S. must take harder line with this ally.

Tina Smith – Yes. Voted against arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

TAXES – Support administration’s $1.9 trillion (2017) tax cuts

Jason Lewis – Yes. Voted for the tax cuts and has said about the bill that “rarely has one piece of legislation been so successful so quickly.”

Tina Smith – No. Says instead of saving Wall Street billions,  should invest in “better wages for teachers, affordable child care, better health care.”

VOTING RULES – Support stricter ID requirements and other rules on voting?

Jason Lewis – Mixed. Believes voting rights should be restored to felons once they have completed parole. Says each state should decide on laws.

Tina Smith – No. Co-sponsored bill to restore Voting Rights Act enacted to prevent discriminatory changes to state voting laws and procedures.

Campus Election Engagement Project is a nonpartisan effort to help colleges engage students in elections. Sources include Votesmart.org, FactCheck.org, Politifact.com and candidate statements. Vote411.org and Ballotready.org  offer guides to local races.