A new Star Tribune/MPR News Minnesota Poll found that Republican State Sen. Karin Housley is making her battle against Sen. Tina Smith, the Democratic incumbent, into a real horse race, as she trails only 41% to 47%. That marks a swing for Housley since an NBC/Marist poll that concluded October 4 found Smith with 54% of the vote and Housley with 38%. 62% of those planning to vote for Housley felt strongly about their vote; 58% of Smith voters felt that way about their candidate.
On Sunday, KSTP had planned to host a debate between Housley and Smith but Smith never showed up.
Housley’s communications director, Jake Schneider, tweeted Monday morning:
Smith voted against the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, saying, “These are very serious allegations. Judge Kavanaugh is being considered for a lifetime appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the voters won’t have an opportunity to decide for themselves. The Senate needs to fulfill our constitutional responsibility of providing advice and consent.”
Conversely, Housley stated her support for Kavanaugh, tweeting, “Judge Kavanaugh’s temperament & credentials are not in doubt – yet partisan politics rule the day. The president had barely uttered his name and @TinaSmithMN was railing against his nomination. That sort of blind opposition & partisan obstruction is a disservice to MNs.”
She also took Smith to task for campaigning with Keith Ellison despite the accusations of sexual assault against him, writing, “Tina Smith said Judge Kavanaugh ‘committed sexual assault’ & called for a ‘quick & thorough investigation’, despite his emphatic denials. But she has chosen to believe Keith Ellison, affirming her support & openly campaigning with him. “
At a Rochester, Minnesota rally on October 4, Housley laid out the differences between her and Smith, stating:
You see, there’s some pretty big differences between me and “Taxin’ Tina.” Taxin’ Tina supports sanctuary cities, andnd I support law enforcement. Taxin’ Tina wants open borders and I want legal immigration. Taxin’ Tina supports government-run health care and I support affordable coverage. Taxin’ Tina campaigns with her really, really good friend Keith Ellison and I say, “We investigate Keith Ellison.” And Taxin’ Tina supports taxpayer-funded abortions and I support protecting our unborn. Taxin’ Tina Smith doesn’t represent real Minnesotans. She promises results but we are all still waiting. Instead, we get bitter partisanship, constant obstruction and complete hypocrisy.
In a recent editorial, Housley noted her work on behalf of seniors, sharing the fact that her own mother suffers from Alzheimer’s disease:
Since my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s eight years ago, I’ve experienced firsthand the many challenges that come with caring for our elderly. As my family and I wrestled with the tough decisions that came along with caring for my mom, I realized not everyone has somebody to fight for them. That’s why I led the effort to create the first-ever Minnesota Senate committee dedicated solely to tackling the many policy challenges in the area of aging and long-term care. I’m proud to serve as the committee’s chairwoman, and I’m proud of the work we’ve been able to accomplish together.