With the GOP in serious danger of losing control of the Senate, every contested seat counts, and if the GOP picks up a seat from a Democratic incumbent that would mean the Democrats would have to pick up two extra seats to gain an advantage.
Thus, the suddenly neck-and-neck race in Minnesota, where GOP senatorial candidate Jason Lewis has surged from an 11-point deficit to incumbent Democrat Tina Smith to a tiny one-point differential, has a chance to cement the GOP’s control of the Senate if Lewis can triumph.
KSTP/SURVEYUSA: Tina Smith 43%; Jason Lewis 42%; 12% undecided; 3% people other. Confidence Interval +/- 5%. Smith had 11-point lead in September and 7-point lead earlier this month. pic.twitter.com/mX91q0MI6X
— Tom Hauser (@thauserkstp) October 21, 2020
John Hinderaker of Powerline notes:
As everyone knows, control over the Senate is teetering on a knife’s edge. If the Democrats take control (perhaps needing a seat or two to spare), they will abolish the filibuster, pack the Supreme Court, make D.C. and Puerto Rico states, legalize 20 million illegal immigrants and give them the right to vote. And that is just for openers.
“I think the numbers in this poll, like others that have been taken in this race, are actually more positive than they appear. At this late date, large numbers of Minnesotans claim to be undecided–12% in this most recent poll. That strikes me as unlikely. The fact that an incumbent senator is only at 43% (and not much higher in other recent polls) means she is highly vulnerable. My guess is that most of those ‘undecideds’ will vote for Jason Lewis,” Hinderaker adds.
Because Lewis has closely allied his campaign with President Trump, Hinderaker points out, “It probably means that President Trump is closing in on Joe Biden, too.”
Lewis said recently that he thought that he would win in November in Minnesota and so would President Trump. He stated, “As the urban liberals become a little bit more crazy, it drives everybody else into Trump country and red country,” according to Fox News. He added, “And especially so since Donald Trump has done the most important thing he could for the GOP, and he’s brought the working man and woman back to the party. I think we are going to win, and I think the president is going to win.”
After the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Tina Smith boasted. “I’m the only Senator to have worked at Planned Parenthood.”
Smith, who has worked as an executive at Planned Parenthood of Minnesota and North and South Dakota, tweeted, “I’m the only Senator to have worked at Planned Parenthood. I’ve seen first-hand how far Republican attacks on reproductive rights will go. If they get this SCOTUS seat, they WILL work to overturn Roe v. Wade.”
I’m the only Senator to have worked at Planned Parenthood.
I’ve seen first-hand how far Republican attacks on reproductive rights will go. If they get this SCOTUS seat, they WILL work to overturn Roe v. Wade.
— Tina Smith (@TinaSmithMN) September 22, 2020
Lewis responded, “Senator @TinaSmith made a career and fortune taking the lives of the unborn and she’s wearing it as a badge of honor. It’s disgraceful. She also said on the Senate floor that providing medical treatment to a newborn who survives a botched abortion attempt would be ‘inappropriate.’”
Senator @TinaSmithMN made a career & fortune taking the lives of the unborn & she’s wearing it as a badge of honor. It’s disgraceful.
She also said on the Senate floor that providing medical treatment to a newborn who survives a botched abortion attempt would be “inappropriate.” https://t.co/giR4HnI3QI
— Jason Lewis (@LewisForMN) September 22, 2020
As MPR has reported, “Smith was an executive for Planned Parenthood in Minnesota and North and South Dakota from 2003 to 2006 before she entered politics.” Prior to sitting in the Senate, Smith was the lieutenant governor of Minnesota; she won a 2018 special election to fill the seat after former senator Al Franken resigned.
The Minnesota Sun reported in February 2019:
Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN), a former Planned Parenthood executive, is proudly defending her vote against a bill that would protect babies who survive botched abortions. “Colleagues, that’s what this bill does. It would give the politicians in this room the power to make medical decisions for women and their families. This bill intimidates providers and forces physicians to provide inappropriate medical treatment, even when it’s not in the best interest of the patient or her family,” Smith said during a Senate floor debate Monday.