Salena Zito’s latest column shines a bright spotlight on Minnesota’s statewide races. Ms. Zito is correct when she writes “The race for the Senate is real in Minnesota. Former Rep. Jason Lewis, who lost his suburban House seat in the Democratic wave election cycle of 2018, has returned, this time for a Senate seat in Minnesota, challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Tina Smith.”

First, Tina Smith isn’t a household name in Minnesota, especially compared with Amy Klobuchar, aka St. Amy of Hennepin County. Next, Smith isn’t an ally of the Iron Range:

“You have Elizabeth Warren come here to Minnesota and say, ‘No mining in Minnesota,’ and these voters are like, ‘Are you kidding me? No mining in Minnesota?’ That is the Iron Range. There’s a reason they call it the Iron Range. Now, we’ve got the largest reserves of copper and nickel up there, and they’re saying, ‘Nope, can’t get at them.’ And then [Rep.] Betty McCollum, the uber-liberal St. Paul representative, drops a bill that would effectively ban mining on the range. Does Tina Smith, my opponent, pledge to block it? Nope, nary a peep,” Lewis explained.

“That is the reason these traditionally Democrat constituents are saying, ‘You’re leaving me. You’re telling me that my way of life on the range is a bad thing. It put my kids through school.’ Well, those voters are coming to us in droves,” he said.

There’s a rumor circulating in Minnesota that the Trump data analytics team has identified 250,000 adults in rural Minnesota who should support President Trump that weren’t registered voters at the start of 2020. It isn’t a rumor that the Trump campaign has spent tons of money on voter registration drives and GOTV operations. If those people exist, then that’s a game-changing event. Trump lost Minnesota by 44,000 votes in 2016. If Trump registers 175,000-200,000 of those rural voters, that’ll swamp Biden and Smith. That’s before talking about the potential for doing better than expected in the suburbs and the Cities:

Lewis admitted that he still needs to earn the suburban vote, at least part of it, something he did do in 2016 and did not do in the 2018 Democratic wave. “So, I did win them previous to that cycle, so I’ve got a little bit of an opening in the suburbs. You add to that the fact of the riots, the fact that the hard Left, the Antifa Left, which is trying to make the argument that one injustice ought to be compounded by another injustice, riots and going after cops … has clearly put the suburbs even in more play,” he said.

His wife, Leigh, is a former St. Paul police officer. “We’re very, very optimistic as we go around the suburbs,” Lewis said. “And that’s where I live as well; that will put us over the finish line, and the polls are showing that.”

With the urban unrest in Minneapolis, Republicans have a great opportunity to do better than expected in Hennepin and Ramsey counties and the suburbs. Lewis should do well in places like Dakota and Carver counties, which have fairly significant rural populations. Let’s just say that Tina Smith doesn’t do well beyond the inner ring suburbs. Lewis has President Trump’s enthusiastic endorsement, which helps in rural Minnesota:

It’ll take a perfect storm to fully flip Minnesota. Considering the turbulence that Minnesota’s dealt with this year, I’m certainly won’t rule out that perfect storm.

5 Responses to “Will Trump, Lewis flip Minnesota red?”

  • eric z says:

    First, Gary, thanks for posting the WashExam link, since it is an outlet I do not follow. Your boxed Warren quote is Jason talking, not the WDashExam author’s opinion. Readers might care to know that.

    That item stated, “It’s unclear whether Minnesota’s move to the right in recent elections is sustainable or how much the coalitions of both parties have changed in the last four years or how riots destabilizing city life will make a difference.”

    To me that is editorializing, and false.

    Every statewide office is held by a Democrat. What “move to the right” basis has this DC insider to rely on? Jason’s telling her?

    It is plain false there is a move to the right. Clinton took Minnesota in 2016 and every statewide office is held by middle-of-the-road democrats except the AG, where Ellison has a progressive history. Klobuchar, Smith, Walz; each is painfully divorced from anything resembling progressive outlook. Centrists each!

    Also, the WashExam thing ignores that police brutality was an extenuating factor in the severity of violence in the course of suppression of popular dissent being expressed by protest.

    Things escalated from peaceful protest to brutality against protest; and got out of hand.

    For some reason the WashExam writer sloughs over the facts. It’s editorial opinion, as much as reporting. The impression is the writer talked to Lewis and features his statements, without having talked to Smith. That’s not normal if intending an objective item, without bias.

  • Gary Gross says:

    First, Salena Zito isn’t a “DC insider.” She’s a travelling columnist who interviews real people in their towns. She’s the first journalist who predicted Trump’s victory. She drives from place to place. She never eats at chain restaurants. She never travels on interstate highways on her way to the next stop. She always stays in bed ‘n breakfasts.

    When 8 Iron Range mayors endorse both Lewis & Trump, that’s a shift rightward. Metrocrats like thinking that Hennepin & Ramsey are the only 2 counties in Minnesota but that’s fiction.

    Saying Klobuchar, Smith & Walz are “centrists each” is laughable. They’re centrists compared to total socialists like Bernie & AOC but they aren’t centrists.

  • Gretchen L Leisen says:

    Gary, you are correct. EZ says Smith, Klobuchar and Walz are centrists. Comparing them to AOC, the Squad and Bernie Sanders makes all Democrats into centrists. Isn’t that an easy thing to do now? Especially when the main stream media is running their public relations as a branch of the Dem Party. Tina Smith is the past head of the Twin Cities Planned Parenthood business. Yes, it is a business who trades in dead baby parts and promote the execution of unborn human beings.

  • eric z says:

    Clearly Trump could take MN. Ditto Lewis. I just had cause to not see that link as unbiased.

    GLL – If Walz and Tina are not Rockefeller Repubs, who is? Graham? The Utah Senator? The Conroy husband? Some in the GOP tent support Trump. Some oppose. But moderate Republicans are extinct. The Dem mainstream has taken over that turf. Everything has shifted right; causing progressive mobilization, finally, having enough but uncertain how to fight the machine. A “Tea Party” feeling on the other end of the spectrum.

    Dem corporatists in the middle. Romney too, with the Tea Party seeming to fade, or at least to not be getting as much press.

    But as to Gary’s post title. Sure. It could happen. We don’t know until votes get counted.

  • Gary Gross says:

    I’ve been reading Salena Zito’s writings since 2005. She isn’t afraid to report if she’s found more support for Republicans or Democrats. She’s also the most detailed populist reporter I’ve ever seen. In 2016, Salena wrote a column about a Bernie delegate to the DNC. When Hillary won the nomination, Salena wrote that this Bernie delegate formed a PAC, raised money, then went to southern Ohio and campaigned there, distributing Trump signs, bumper stickers, etc. that his PAC paid for.

    As for Walz & T. Smith, they’re do-nothing DFL idiots. RBG’s death puts Smith in a difficult reelection position.

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