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Michael Brodkorb

Minnesota politics and beyond.

Howe and Lewis spar over abortion in Second District debate

Former state Senator John Howe and former radio show host Jason Lewis, sparred over abortion rights during last evening's debate in Cannon Falls between the Republican candidates for Congress in Minnesota Second Congressional District. 

Responding to a question asked of all candidates about defunding Planned Parenthood, Howe said he was always opposed abortion, but said Lewis supported abortion rights when he ran for Congress in Colorado.

"Jason Lewis is now running in Minnesota [Congressional District] 2 and he wants to say that he’s considered pro-life," said Howe. "Well he ran before in [Congressional District] 2 in Colorado and he suggested that most people would consider him pro-choice," added Howe.

Lewis did not immediately challenge Howe’s claims in the debate, but in his closing remarks Lewis acknowledged some would consider his past position on abortion to be ‘pro-choice.’

"26 years ago, I told somebody I believed life begins when the heartbeat begins, and somebody said 'you must be pro-choice,'" said Lewis.

Lewis ran for Congress in Colorado's Second Congressional District in 1990, challenging Democratic Rep. David Skaggs. Skaggs defeated Lewis, winning over 60 percent of the vote in the general election.

In an interview with the Denver Post from May 1990, Lewis was asked about his position on abortion. Lewis answered, "While most people consider my position pro-choice, I'm opposed to public funding and support parental notification."

Lewis’ campaign released a statement this morning, which said, "Jason is pro-life and believes life begins at conception," adding Lewis "will stand staunchly in defense of innocent life as a member of the United States Congress."

Howe said this morning that Lewis was wrong for supporting abortion rights.

"For someone who adopted the stage name of ‘Mr. Right,’ Jason certainly hasn't been right on the issue of protecting the life of the unborn,” said Howe. 

Picture source: John Howe for Congress, Jason Lewis for Congress

Kern announces she will challenge Emmer in Sixth District

AJ Kern, a small business owner and outspoken critic of US immigration policies, announced she will challenge Congressman Tom Emmer in Minnesota's Sixth Congressional District. 

In an interview yesterday, Kern said the St. Cloud area is in a "death spiral" because of the influx of "English language learners."

Kern, who will seek the Republican Party of Minnesota's endorsement for Congress, announced her campaign for Congress at a presentation in St. Cloud last week by Jeffrey Baumann about the Islamic legal system, Sharia

School districts are failing, the number of rental properties are increasing, and the property values of individual homes are dropping because of refugees moving into the Sixth Congressional District, said Kern.

Kern raised strong concerns yesterday about refugees and immigrants running for political office and said a person seeking elected office in the US should not be able to have dual citizenship. 

Specifically, Kern objected to Muslims serving in elected office and she echoed previous statements made by presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson, who expressed concerns with a Muslim serving as president. 

Kern, who lived in Iran in the 1970's, questioned the virtues of Islam and said, "if you look at their Prophet [Muhammad], he murdered people, he raped people, he enslaved people, he molested children."

In a statement released by his campaign, Congressman Emmer said "every citizen of this great country has the right to seek public office." Emmer added, "I give my all every day to do the best job possible for all the people of the 6th district and Minnesota and will humbly ask for their continued support."

Kern moved to Minnesota in 2003 and lives in Sauk Rapids with her husband. Kern graduated from Montana State University and also has a master's degree from the University of Wyoming.  Kern served in the U.S. Army Reserve and she unsuccessfully ran for the Sauk Rapids school board in 2010. 

Picture source: AJ Kern, Office of Congressman Tom Emmer

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