Christine “Tina” Smith (D)
Christine “Tina” Smith (D)
Karin Housley (R)
Karin Housley (R)

Created by the Campus Election Engagement Project, a nonpartisan effort to help college and university administrators, faculty, and student leaders engage their schools in the election. Key sites consulted included,,,, and public candidate statements. For guides to local races, see from the League of Women Voters and For more detailed information visit their pages.

To volunteer visit and Other senate candidates include Sarah Wellington (Legal Marijuana Now Party) & Jerry Trooien (I). Due to limited space, we can only include candidates who poll 15% or higher, but encourage you to check out their websites. To download a printable pdf version of this guide, click here.

Abortion: Mostly ban or mostly legal?

Smith –  Legal. Says women should “have the freedom to decide when & how to raise a family.”

Housley – Ban. Says “I’ve fought hard… for our unborn.” Has 100% rating from MN Citizens Concerned for Life.


Campaign Finance: 1. Require political ads to disclose their largest funders? 2. Support Citizens United decision, allowing unlimited political donations from corporations & unions?

Smith –  1. Yes. In 2018, cosponsored DISCLOSE Act, requiring organizations spending more than $10,000 in an election cycle to disclose donors’ names. 2. Reverse Citizens United by Constitutional Amendment.

Housley – 1. Unclear. Said we need “adequate regulations” to ensure candidates raise funds ethically & transparently but supports “free market” for campaigns.  2. Yes. Supports Citizen United: “I would be in support of the way it is right now.”


Climate Change: Consider climate change a serious threat?

Smith –  Yes. “Climate change is real & poses a threat to our economy & our health.” Pushed for 50 percent renewable electricity by 2030 in Minnesota & helped expand renewable energy in state gov.

Housley – Unclear. Opposed Paris Climate Accord, says would cost trillions, kill jobs & hinder oil, gas, coal & manufacturing. Wants a “balanced approach to climate policy.”


Courts: Support President Trump’s choice of Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court nominee? (before recent allegations)

Smith –  No. “We need a Justice who will protect the rights of all Americans… Judge Kavanaugh is not that Justice.”

Housley – Yes. “President Trump made an excellent choice in nominating Judge Brett Kavanaugh.”


Economy: Support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?

Smith –  Yes. As MN Lt. Governor, introduced jobs & infrastructure bill to support local economies & create nearly 23,000 jobs.

Housley – Unclear. Prioritizes “balancing the budget” & “incentives to keep & grow businesses.”


Education: Provide vouchers to parents to send their children to private schools with public money?

Smith –  No. “School vouchers create a 2-tiered education system, while diverting critical resources from the public schools.”

Housley – Unclear on vouchers. Says she is a “school choice person.”


Environment: Support Environmental Protection Administration cutbacks?

Smith –  No. Says is fighting efforts to “roll back responsible environmental policy.”

Housley – No position found. Opposes “too much regulation & bureaucracy.”


Financial Regulation: Support cutbacks in Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)?

Smith –  No. Signed letter to US Senate leadership opposing reduction of CFPB funding.

Housley – No position found.


Gay Marriage: Support gay marriage?

Smith –  Yes. Supports “marriage equality” & “LGBTQ equality.”

Housley – No. In 2013 voted against same-sex marriage bill in MN Senate.


Gun Control: Support more restrictive gun control legislation? Restrict semi-automatic weapons?

Smith –  Yes. Supports “common-sense gun laws” to keep guns from criminals & dangerous individuals:  bump stock, assault weapon & high-capacity magazine bans.

Housley – No, with exceptions. Supports “a reasonable ban on bump stocks.” Otherwise, focuses on enforcing existing gun laws & addressing mental health.


Healthcare: Support or repeal Affordable Care Act (ACA), known as Obamacare?

Smith –  Support. Keep ACA protections in place. But sees single payer as “most direct way to ensure universal coverage.”

Housley – Repeal. Says “Obamacare has failed hardworking Minnesotans, driving up costs” & reducing quality of healthcare.


Healthcare: Let Planned Parenthood receive public funds for non-abortion healthcare?

Smith –  Yes. Was vice-president of MN, ND & SD Planned Parenthood. Opposed proposal to block state family planning grants to Planned Parenthood because of its role in providing abortion services.

Housley – No. Sees public funds better spent at women’s health clinics that “provide real family planning services.”


Healthcare: Require people to work to receive Medicaid?

Smith –  No. Says “most people who receive Medicaid & can work do work.” Work requirement would create bureaucracy.

Housley – Unclear. Wants to give a work requirement “serious consideration” as a way to prevent fraud & waste.


Immigration: Support path to citizenship for America’s 11 million illegal immigrants, including “DACA” recipients or “Dreamers,” who grew up in the US?

Smith –  Yes. Supports “tough but fair path to citizenship,” along with “fiscally efficient methods to secure the border.”

Housley – Yes, on DACA. No position found on other undocumented immigrants. Considers secure borders #1 immigration priority.


Iran: Support Trump withdrawal from treaty limiting Iran’s nuclear capability in return for lifting economic sanctions?

Smith –  No. Says withdrawal doesn’t reduce Iran’s “threat the region & US national security interests”—& makes Iran more likely to develop a nuclear weapon.

Housley – Yes. Says “I applaud President Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal & reimpose sanctions on the country.”


Marijuana: Legalize or decriminalize marijuana?

Smith –  Learn from experience of states that have legalized recreational.

Housley – States should decide. Voted to “legalize limited forms of medical marijuana,” but “needs to be more research on marijuana’s efficacy.”


Minimum Wage: Raise the federal minimum wage from the current $7.25/hour?

Smith –  Yes. Co-sponsored legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024.

Housley – No. In 2017 in MN Senate, voted to prohibit local governments from raising local minimum wage. Voted against raising MN minimum in 2013 & 2014.


President Trump: Response to President Trump’s actions & policies?

Smith –  Critical of policies & actions: “Nobody is above the law in this country.”

Housley – Believes in “80% of what he’s doing.” except tariffs & border separation.


Student Debt: Refinance student loans at lower rates, paid for by raising taxes on high earners (Elizabeth Warren bill)?

Smith –  Yes. Cosponsored Warren’s Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act.

Housley – No position found.


Student Financial Aid: Increase federal student financial aid, like Pell Grants?

Smith –  Yes. Has pushed for more funding for financial aid & grants. Wants more investment in technical & vocational training.

Housley – No position found on increases. Wants more students to opt for 2-year degrees, & loan forgiveness for students who go to work at local companies in ”greater Minnesota” but not the Twin Cities.


Taxes: Increase taxes on corporations and/or high-income individuals to pay for public services?

Smith –  Yes. As MN Lt. Governor, pushed bill including tax cuts & aid for students, rescinding tax cuts for “super wealthy” & “big business.”

Housley – No. Speaks of the “crushing impact high taxes have on job creation.” “It’s your money, not the government’s.”


Taxes: Support President Trump’s tax cuts?

Smith –  No. Opposes. Instead of saving Wall Street $3.6 billion, we should have invested in better wages for teachers, affordable childcare, better healthcare.

Housley – Yes. Supports the Republican tax act, saying, “there are a lot of good policies in there.”