Candidates in MN's 2nd and 3rd congressional districts square off in TV debate

In just over two weeks, Minnesotans head to the polls to vote in two of the most closely watched races - the second and third congressional districts.

Friday night, the candidates in both those races faced off in televised debates.

“I’d say sexual harassment law needs to be better defined,” said incumbent 2nd District Representative Jason Lewis. “Much better defined. We don't want people to be able to make false accusations. That's what my concern was on Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh."

“I’ve said from the start I don't think Jason’s thinking represents mainstream Minnesota values,” said his challenger Angie Craig. “But that's up to the voters of the second district to decide. I’m personally more offended by his votes against Minnesota families giving a huge tax break to large corporations.”

Lewis and Craig sparred over a number of issues including lowering the cost of healthcare, the death of a journalist in Saudi Arabia and whether congress has been a check on President Donald Trump.

You heard their exchange over comments Lewis made seemingly mocking women who were traumatized by unwanted sexual advances during his radio show back in 2011.

Both candidates in another closely watched congressional race highlighted their differences as well.

“I think it’s important because Philips has a record of not paying his taxes, personal taxes,” said Representative Erik Paulsen, the 3rd District incumbent.  

“First and foremost, I do pay my taxes,” Phillips replied. “I paid my Hennepin County tax bill late. That was the extent of the tax.”

Paulsen and Phillips talked about one of those incessant ads claiming Philips has not paid his taxes.

They also sparred over everything from how to save social security and Medicare, to whether recreational marijuana should be legal, but they kept a civil tone, calling it a conversation rather than a straight up debate.

Both races have seen a lot of outside money come in to influence the outcome and both will be two of the most watched races in the country on election night.