Sep 20, 2022 - Politics

Doctors ramp up presence in Minnesota governor's race

Illustration of trail mix with elephant and donkey pretzels
Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

The political arm of the Minnesota Medical Association's recent endorsement of DFL Gov. Tim Walz over Republican Scott Jensen was just the latest example of doctors being called into the midterm campaigns.

Driving the news: MEDPAC's chair cited the governor's "science- and evidence-based actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic" and support for reproductive healthcare as factors in a letter on the endorsement released last week.

The big picture: Democrats in close races are increasingly leaning on doctors to drive messaging on abortion and other issues, Axios' Alexi McCammond writes.

  • The trend has showed up in recent ads from DFL groups in Minnesota.

The other side: Jensen, a doctor whose COVID comments have attracted national attention, is touting his own medical credentials. His ads note a 2016 family physician of the year honor.

What to watch: Doctors who oppose Jensen are holding another news conference this morning. It's the second press event of its kind in less than a week.

Flashback: MEDPAC endorsed incumbent DFL Gov. Mark Dayton in 2014 and independent Tom Horner in 2010. The group sat out 2018.

2nd Congressional District ad flunks fact check

On the topic of healthcare issues: An abortion-related ad airing in Minnesota got a rare failing grade for facts.

What happened: A TV spot from the Democratic House Majority PAC claims that Tyler Kistner, the GOP's nominee in the battleground 2nd Congressional District, "supports letting states ban abortion with no exception for rape, incest or [to] save a woman’s life.”

Where he stands: Kistner, who has previously called himself 100% pro-life and pledged to seek to further restrict abortion access, has said he does support allowing abortion if the life of a mother is in danger and in the cases of rape and incest.

🐦 Midterm messaging wars, in one tweet
gina countryman tweet of star tribune cover
Screenshot: Gina Countryman via Twitter

A recent tweet from GOP strategist Gina Countryman gives a preview of what we'll be hearing from Republicans in the final seven weeks of the campaign.

Between the lines: The stubbornly high inflation rate is one of several factors behind signs the midterm environment is tilting back in the GOP's direction after Democrats' surge in political momentum over the summer, Axios' Josh Kraushaar writes.

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