Opinion editor’s note: The Star Tribune Editorial Board operates separately from the newsroom, and no news editors or reporters were involved in the endorsement process.
There’s controversy surrounding the Second Congressional District race after a federal judge ruled the contest should proceed Nov. 3 despite the death of Adam Weeks, the Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate.
There should not be controversy about which candidate stands out in the race, however. Democrat Angie Craig should return to Congress in order to build upon her impressive first term.
In 2018, Craig unseated Republican Jason Lewis in the highly competitive district south and east of the Twin Cities, and her governing style aligns more with the moderate Democrat majority, not the more liberal wing that some Republicans assert is leading the legislative agenda in the House.
Instead Craig, 48, has focused on constructive measures to help the nation respond to the coronavirus crisis. For instance, she helped craft the Paycheck Protection Program portion of the CARES Act and later worked to secure an extension on the vital bridge to businesses, a bill that President Donald Trump signed.
Craig’s priorities include health care, and the former St. Jude Medical executive’s experience will especially be needed if the Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act. She believes in building on that law, as Joe Biden has urged, rather than implementing Medicare for All.
Craig proposes meeting the existential threat of climate change with an economic response: the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, which she has co-sponsored. The legislation would set a fee on fossil-fuel use and return the dividend to the public, creating an incentive to transition to more sustainable sources of energy. Craig is not a supporter, however, of the Green New Deal.
Nor does she support defunding the police. Rather, she’s voted twice to fund local community policing grants. In fact, on most key issues, Craig is not focused on ideology, but on problem solving.
And in the process she tries to work with Republicans. She joined another Democrat and two Republicans to launch the Congressional Supply Chain Caucus, focusing on a national vulnerability that became glaringly apparent during the pandemic. And she has worked closely with fellow freshman Rep. Pete Stauber, a Republican who represents Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District, on a bill to address federal funding for special education.
On other issues, she’s rightly resolute — on voting rights, for instance, which unfortunately has become a partisan issue. And in her belief that Trump does not deserve to be re-elected.
Craig’s Republican opponent Tyler Kistner has described the impeachment investigation as a “witch hunt.” Kistner, 33, told the Star Tribune Editorial Board he would also back the president and most Republican representatives on issues like climate change as well as any gun-control legislation, however sensible it might be.
Kistner did show laudable independence, however, on the Affordable Care Act, saying that he did not yet favor jettisoning the law. For now, he added, his party “did not have a good response to health care.”
That honesty reflects well on Kistner, who admirably seeks to serve his country in Congress just as he did in the U.S. Marine Corps. He served for nine years and completed four overseas tours.
The federal judge’s ruling that the race should proceed is being appealed and, if it is overturned, there could be a special election in February. For now, Second District voters should proceed as if Nov. 3 is Election Day. And they can cast their ballots with confidence that Angie Craig will continue to work for them in Washington.