Minnesota DFL leaders on Thursday called for Jason Lewis, the talk radio host turned Second Congressional District Republican candidate, to release the full archives of his show, saying that the candidate’s “incendiary rhetoric” should be fully explored by the public.
Four legislators — Assistant Senate Majority Leader Katie Sieben, Deputy House Minority Leader Erin Murphy, Rep. Rena Moran and Rep. Sandra Masin — along with State Auditor Rebecca Otto said at a news conference that Lewis’ on-air comments on women, slavery and members of the LGBTQ community indicate that voters need to hear more thoughts Lewis has aired in the past.
“Unlike those of us up here who have a voting record to stand on, Jason Lewis does not,” Sieben said. “I think it’s very important for him to release his radio archive so that we can see what he’s said.”
Lewis is squaring off against DFL candidate Angie Craig for the seat formerly held by John Kline. The district includes most of Dakota, Scott, Goodhue and Wabasha counties, along with portions of Washington and Rice counties.
Lewis’ campaign spokesman, Jack Dwyer, said in a statement Thursday that the discussion about the radio archives is a “distraction,” adding that “we’ve made it clear to those who’ve asked that Jason does not own or have these supposed archives.”
Craig’s campaign and DFL leaders have pointed to Lewis' comments on slavery in his 2015 audio book, which included: “How does somebody else owning a slave affect me? It doesn’t. If I don’t think it is right, I won’t own one, and people always say, ‘Well, if you don’t want to marry somebody of the same sex, you don’t have to, but why tell somebody else they can’t? Uh, you know if you don’t want to own a slave, don’t. But don’t tell other people they can’t.”
They have also singled out comments he made on the air about women in a discussion about funding for contraception: “You’ve got a vast majority of young single women who couldn’t explain to you what GDP means. You know what they care about? They care about abortion. They care about abortion and gay marriage. They care about ‘The View.’ They are nonthinking.”
Earlier this week, the DFL released a website featuring more of Lewis’ comments.
Lewis has previously defended his comments, saying earlier this year that he stood by his opinions about abortion and taxpayer-funded contraception even if “liberal reporters and typical politicians may not like the bluntness of the way I’ve framed some issues in my career as a voice in the conservative movement.”
Dwyer, Lewis’ campaign spokesman, said Craig, a former health-care executive at St. Jude Medical, is trying to shift the focus from bigger issues.
“Angie Craig and her allies continue to do everything in their power to deflect the conversation from her radical agenda, which is wrong for the Second District and will hurt economic opportunities for our hardworking families and citizens,” he said.
At Thursday’s DFL news conference, someone turned up with two fliers for reporters from the Republican Party of Minnesota. One called on Craig to pull a TV ad that the party says misleads voters with “quotes of Jason Lewis out of context.” The second, titled “Radical Angie Craig: What is She Hiding?” critiques Craig’s stance on the Affordable Care Act, immigration and lawsuits brought against St. Jude Medical over its products.
Above: (From left) Deputy House Minority Leader Erin Murphy, Assistant Senate Majority Leader Katie Sieben, State Auditor Rebecca Otto, Rep. Rena Moran and Rep. Sandra Masin.