Former GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina was in Apple Valley on Wednesday evening, rallying the crowd at a fundraiser for the Republican candidate in one of the most closely watched Congressional races in the country.
In a packed room at the Vivo Kitchen restaurant, Fiorina called on attendees to rally their friends and family members to vote for Second Congressional District candidate Jason Lewis — and for Republicans all the way up to the top of the ticket, including her former rival, Donald Trump.
She said GOP members should embrace difficult conversations about politics and look at any opportunity as a chance to explain why they plan to vote for Republicans.
“You must advocate,” she said. “Don’t run away from those conversations.”
Lewis, who is locked in a heated battle with Democrat Angie Craig for the seat long held by retiring Rep. John Kline, told the crowd that the country was at a “tipping point,” in which Americans are being held back by too many business and environmental regulations and proposals. Among them: the Affordable Care Act, provisions of the Clean Water Act, and the Paycheck Fairness Act, a proposal aimed at reducing pay gaps between men and women.
“When my opponent looks out at the workforce,” Lewis said, “she sees gay and straight, black and white, male and female. This era of identity politics has to stop.”
The event came as the race is attracting an increasing amount of outside money and attention. Craig, a former executive at St. Jude Medical, had a significant fundraising advantage over Lewis, a former talk-radio host, by July, the last time campaign finance reports were due. By that point, Craig had brought in about $1.7 million in donations to Lewis’ $370,000.
New ads for both candidates hit the airwaves this week. A Craig ad from the House Majority PAC and AFT Solidarity — a teachers’ union PAC — focuses on controversial comments Lewis made during his radio career that have become fodder throughout the campaign. DFLers have highlighted Lewis’ remarks about young women, whom he called “non-thinking” in a discussion about federally funded birth control, as well as his comments about slavery, minorities and victims of natural disasters.
The Craig campaign has taken his words out of context, Lewis says in his new ad.
Meanwhile, the candidates have agreed to appear in two debates, the first of which will be held Oct. 14. Craig’s campaign is also attracting attention from high-profile figures; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will headline a fundraiser next week for DFLers including Craig and Congressional candidate Terri Bonoff.