'Let the healthy go about their business': GOP Senate candidate Jason Lewis on pandemic, election

Jason Lewis
Republican Senate candidate Jason Lewis holds a town hall meeting in Bemidji on Jan. 23, 2020.
John Enger | MPR News file

Minnesota Republicans will try again next weekend to hold their statewide virtual endorsing convention. The first attempt last weekend was halted due to technical problems.

The key order of business is choosing a candidate to run against DFL U.S. Sen. Tina Smith. The front runner in that race is former U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis. He said the Republican party has evolved considerably in the last few years and is better poised to win statewide races in Minnesota this fall.

Anticipating his party's endorsement for U.S. Senate at the virtual convention next week, Lewis told All Things Considered host Tom Crann the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic will be a defining issue in this fall's election.

“We all want to be safe. I do think that there is a proper policy,” he said. “Mine would be to focus on those nursing homes, on congregated living centers where clearly the virus is most deadly, most dangerous, and let young and healthy [people] go about their business.“

Earlier this week, Lewis filed a lawsuit against Gov. Tim Walz, claiming his recent executive orders are unconstitutional.

“A right to travel has been part of our jurisprudence for a couple of centuries now,” the Republican said. “When you have limits on traveling, limits on public gatherings, limits on the ability to do and go and assemble, that's clearly an infringement upon that right.”

Click on the audio above to listen to Lewis’ full interview on All Things Considered.

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