Meet a Competitive House Race: Minnesota 2nd District (Jason Lewis vs. Angie Craig or Jeff Erdmann)

Politics News Meet a Competitive House Race
Meet a Competitive House Race: Minnesota 2nd District (Jason Lewis vs. Angie Craig or Jeff Erdmann)

Welcome to “Meet a Competitive House Race,” a Paste feature in which we highlight—you guessed it—a competitive 2018 House race from somewhere in America. Between now and election day, we’ll hopefully hit them all. You can see a full list of other House races we’ve profiled at the bottom of this page.

What’s the deal with today’s district? Where is it?

Minnesota’s 2nd district is located in the southeast portion of the state and includes counties such as Dakota, Goodhue, Rice, Scott, Wabasha and Washington. The major cities in the district are Apple Valley, Belle Plaine, Bellechester, Pine Island, Jordan and more.

Who the hell lives there? How do they vote?

The district is primarily white at 83.8 percent, followed by Hispanic at 5.3 percent and Asian at 4.3 percent. It is also primarily citizens who were U.S.-born at 91.7 percent. The district’s one pivot county is Rice County, which voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012 but then voted for Trump in 2016. The pivot county is surrounded by historically red counties other than the blue Washington and Dakota counties. A Republican has held the House seat since 2014 but this year, the race has been declared a toss-up.

Is Trump going to screw the Republican?

Trump will probably screw the Republican, Jason Lewis, if the pivot county isn’t happy with Trump’s term so far.

Give me some more background

The district is precarious because of the pivot county, which ultimately voted Lewis into office by only a two-point margin. The county also voted for Trump after supporting Obama for both of his terms. They can’t be happy with the way things are going during Trump’s first term, or with how many of Obama’s policies he is undoing. Lewis hasn’t tried to distance himself from Trump at all. In fact, he has voted yea on all of his controversial bills.

What’s up with the Republican(s)?

The incumbent, Lewis was first elected into the House in 2016 by a narrow margin of two points. According to BallotPedia), Lewis is a radio show host and conservative commentator. He has also made appearances on NBC’s Today Show, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC and CNBC, so his obsession with the media seems to fit with the Trump administration. He has also worked as a journalist for the Star Tribune of Minneapolis, and had articles published in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Times.

While in the House, Lewis has been assigned to the Committee on Budget, Committee on Education and Workforce, and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. As aforementioned, he has voted yea on all of Trump’s controversial bills, such as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection act, Kate’s Law and No Sanctuary for Criminals Act. According to his website, his campaign themes include ending government bailouts and stimulating economic growth with small and medium-sized businesses, reforming the tax code, reforming education, cracking down on terrorism and securing the borders, and reforming health care. So far, he has the most campaign contributions in the 2018 race with $1,270,006.

What’s up with the Democrat(s)?

Jeff Erdmann and Angie Craig will face off in the Aug. 14 primary for the Democratic nomination. Per BallotPedia, Craig graduated from the University of Memphis, and worked as a journalist and then at two large companies. She recently worked for a Fortune 500 healthcare company, St. Jude Medical. Before running for the Democratic nomination, her work has focused on health policy, media and government relations, and corporate communications. Craig also ran for the district’s House seat in 2016, and was endorsed by President Obama, but was defeated by Lewis by a narrow margin of two points.

According to her website, Craig’s campaign themes include helping small businesses to stimulate the economy, providing affordable college, saving Social Security and Medicare for seniors, expanding the funding allocated in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, and fighting climate change. Craig has raised $1,076,723 in campaign contributions so far.

Erdmann is also running for the Democratic nomination. According to the Star Tribune, Erdmann is somewhat of a hometown hero, as he is currently the Rosemount High School’s football coach and civics teacher. Rosemount, Minn. is in Dakota County, a historically blue county. Erdmann grew up in Lewiston in southeastern Minnesota and is using his academic background as a main part of his campaign. After 27 years of teaching civics, Erdmann believes, “Whether we’re Democrat or Republican, there is more that unites us than divides us.”

The campaign will be his first, having never worked in the government before, which brings a plain-folks appeal to him as a candidate. When the Star Tribune asked him about his candidacy Erdmann stated that he never thought he would be running for congress but, “after seeing the behavior of our politicians, especially Jason Lewis, I realized that if working Americans want proper representation, then working Americans like myself need to run for office.” Erdmann has raised $148,303 in campaign contributions so far.

What do the polls say?

While Erdmann is a hometown underdog, it is predicted that Craig will win the nomination and face off once again against Lewis.

What’s weird about the district?

This race will probably be between Craig and Lewis, who have already battled it out in 2016. In 2018, this district was declared as one of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s initial targets. Health care will be the main topic of discussion in this race due to Lewis’s support of Trump’s health care reforms, and Craig’s history on the issue. It will be up to the pivot county to decide whether they’re happy with their decision of electing Trump.

Give me a prediction

We predict that Craig will beat Lewis after battling it out for the second time. She is keeping up with Lewis in campaign contributions and she has been endorsed by EMILY’s List, Human Rights Campaign and Democratic Minnesota Representative Rick Nolan. The pivot county will probably swing her way after Trump’s actions in his first term.

Past Races

New York 19th: John Faso vs. Antonio Delgado or Pat Ryan
California 10th: Jeff Denham vs. Michael Eggman or Josh Harder
Nebraska 2nd: Don Bacon vs. Brad Ashford or Kara Eastman
California 48th: Dana Rohrabacher, vs. some Democrat, eventually
Florida 26th: Carlos Curbelo vs. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell
Colorado 6th: Mike Coffman vs. Jason Crow
Washington 8th: Dino Rossi vs. too many infighting Dems
Iowa 1st: Rod Blum vs. Probably Abby Finkenauer

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