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2nd District fight will be between Lewis and Craig

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Jason Lewis won the Republican primary in the 2nd District race to replace retiring U.S. Rep. John Kline. (Submitted photo)2 / 2

Jason Lewis used his celebrity of being a radio talk show host as basis for becoming the Republican nominee to replace U.S. Rep. John Kline.

Lewis won the 2nd Congressional District Republican primary despite not quite living within the district's boundaries. Unofficial results showed him with 48 percent of the vote with more than 75 percent the precincts counted.

Businesswoman Darlene Miller held second place with 30 percent. Also in the race were former state Sen. John Howe of Red Wing and little-known newcomer Matt Erickson.

Lewis faces well-financed Democrat Angie Craig, who did not have a primary challenge.

Experts say Craig might have the edge over Lewis, if only because she has effectively had an eight-month head start.

"But it won't be the slam dunk maybe some people are expecting," said Nathan Gonzales, editor and publisher of the nonpartisan Rothenberg and Gonzales Political Report.

Also in the Nov. 8 race will be Independence Party candidate Paula Overby.

The election will decide who will replace Kline, a Republican who opted not to run again.

Lewis won the support of the Republican Party activists at a May convention and also has backing from a wide range of legislators and other prominent Republicans.

Miller gained Kline's endorsement. Howe won endorsements from the National Rifle Association and the Star Tribune newspaper.

"Jason Lewis certainly had the political machinery working for him and it did make the difference," Howe said. "I hope I am wrong about Lewis's vulnerabilities and I am going to work hard for our downline candidates. It will be important to hold the state House and try to pick up some state Senate seats."

Lewis quickly put the focus on Nov. 8: "The differences between radical liberal Angie Craig's policy positions and ours are stark. She will do her best to 'moderate' her positions, but make no mistake, Angie Craig's Minnesota would be a radical departure from our shared values."

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.