Jason Lewis, Angie Craig, Paula Overby face off in first debate

It's taken weeks, but the three candidates in the 2nd Congressional District race finally sat down together for a debate.

Friday night, Democratic candidate Angie Craig, Republican candidate Jason Lewis and Independence Party candidate Paula Overby faced off during the Almanac program at the Twin Cities PBS studios in St. Paul.

The two major party candidates finally got to answer the charges made against one another made in a blizzard of ads.

Angie Craig has tried to make an issue of Jason Lewis’ statements over his many years as a talk show host, while Lewis has criticized Craig's record as an executive at St. Jude Medical.

“What you were really talking about is you were comparing marriage equality to as immoral as slavery,” Craig said to Lewis, referencing an ad. “That's what you really meant, that's what you said.”

Lewis said Craig’s ads have taken some of his comments out of context.

“I'll be the first to admit. I was paid to be provocative, on the radio, did my job well,” Lewis said. “Angie, you were paid to look after vets, seniors, and kids and you put profits ahead of patients.”

Overby called the bickering between the candidates politics as usual.

“This is fundamentally what’s wrong with our political process,” Overby said. “Our Congress is getting absolutely nothing done, and this is why.”

The presidential race was a topic as well. Craig tried to tie Lewis to Trump. Lewis denounced Trump’s comments about women, but said he cannot support Hillary Clinton.

“Both sides have problems with the top of the ticket, but this is not about that,” Lewis said. “This race is about who you want in Congress, no matter who the next president is.”

“Frankly, I think this election at the top of the ticket has become much more about our values and what point and point are we going to move past politics and come together as an American people and say this is not  who we are,” said Craig.

This was the first of three scheduled joint appearances for the candidates before November 8. 

The 2nd Congressional District covers parts of the southern part of the Twin Cities metro and parts of southeast Minnesota.