Election 2020

Sen. Tina Smith debates COVID-19, jobs and public safety with challenger Jason Lewis

A photo collage of Jason Lewis and Tina Smith
Democratic Sen. Tina Smith and Republican-endorsed challenger Jason Lewis debated via computer from their homes rather than at the western Minnesota estate where FarmFest has long been held.
Photos by Jim Mone and Carolyn Kaster, AP | Illustration by MPR News

Updated: 3:10 p.m.

DFL Sen.Tina Smith and her Republican challenger Jason Lewis squared off Friday in their second debate, and COVID-19 was a recurring topic. The virtual forum is co-hosted by the Duluth News Tribune and the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce. Moderators are News Tribune editorial editor Chuck Frederick and Duluth Chamber President and CEO David Ross.

On COVID-19, Smith said better public health protections, including testing and contact tracing, will help the economic rebound.

“The most important thing is to get this virus under control to make sure that we’re moving forward and protecting our families and kids,” she said.

Lewis, the former congressman and radio host, said the key is lifting restrictions.

“It’s time to open up Minnesota,” Lewis said, “get the kids back to school and get on the football field Friday night as well.”

Do you have a question for the candidates? MPR News will host another debate between Smith and Lewis on Oct. 2. #AskMPRNews and we will ask the candidates on your behalf.