Sep 6, 2022 - Politics

Trail Mix: Survey sheds light on Tyler Kistner's abortion stance

Illustration of trail mix with elephant and donkey pretzels

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Welcome back to Trail Mix, Axios Twin Cities reporter Torey Van Oot's weekly column reporting on the midterm campaigns.

Republican congressional candidate Tyler Kistner pledged to support federal legislation aimed at further reducing abortion access in response to a recent issue survey.

Why it matters: Abortion has become a hot topic in the rematch between Kistner and DFL U.S. Rep. Angie Craig in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

  • The Prior Lake Republican, who touted his "100% pro-life" record in his 2020 campaign, said this summer that he does support exceptions for rape or when a pregnant person's life is in danger.
  • He said in June that the issue should be "left at the states to decide."

Yes, but: The "pro-life" survey, published this summer by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, asked candidates for federal office if they would support so-called "incremental approach" bills seeking to reduce abortion as part of "a strategic plan for creating a pro-life nation."

  • Kistner answered yes to that question, as well as one asking candidates if they'd work to uphold any "pro-life" laws or policies in place when they took office.

A spokesperson for Kistner didn't respond to a request for comment.

Zoom out: Republican candidates around the country have been downplaying— or in some cases reversing — hardline anti-abortion stances they took during their primaries in light of signs that the Dobbs decision has energized Democratic voters, Axios' Alexi McCammond and Andrew Solender report.

Endorsement drama for realtors

A decision to take a side in the governor's race is lighting up the Minnesota Realtors' listserv.

What's happening: Minnesota Realtors Political Action Committee endorsed DFL Gov. Tim Walz's re-election bid late last month.

  • That announcement prompted a flurry of messages on the association's members-only email chain, with some realtors threatening to pull their support over the move.

What they're saying: "Looks like we have our own Swamp. Right here in Minnesota," one agent wrote, pledging that he wouldn't give "another dime" to the group.

The response: Other members chimed in to defend the decision and process, which included interviews with both top candidates.

  • Some noted that the PAC, which routinely backs candidates from both sides of the aisle, previously endorsed Republican Tim Pawlenty.

Of note: The CEO of Minnesota Realtors declined to comment.

What it tells us: Tensions — and emotions — are running high in this hyper-polarized era of politics.

Quote du jour... Jensen on tax returns

“I’m not interested in having the media divert from the issues of inflation and crime and education in order to do this spitballing,"
— GOP gubernatorial nominee Scott Jensen to MPR News on why he doesn't plan to release his tax returns ahead of the election.

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