MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Democratic Sen. Tina Smith is projected to have won the seat for the U.S. Senate yet again, defeating Republican challenger Jason Lewis.
According to the Minnesota Secretary of State, Smith beat Lewis by more than 5 points. With over 99% of precincts reporting, election results show that Smith amassed nearly 49% of the vote while her challenger received just under 44%.
“I’m honored to be re-elected as your U.S. Senator,” Smith tweeted early Wednesday morning. “You showed how we organize, how we talk to voters, how we get out the vote. You made tonight happen. Now, the real work is ahead of us. Let’s keep fighting together. Thank you.”
Early Wednesday morning, Lewis told reporters that he was disappointed and surprised by the outcome.
“We saw the trends going our way, given the chaos in the Twin Cities and defunding the police nonsense…we certainly thought the race would be closer,” he said, adding that his political career might now be over.
Smith has held the U.S. Senate seat since 2018; she was first appointed to the position after former Sen. Al Franken resigned due to allegations of sexual harassment. She then beat Republican Karin Housley in the special election that November. Before taking on the role of senator, Smith served as the state’s lieutenant governor for Gov. Mark Dayton.
Jason Lewis talking with reporters, admitting there's little chance he can make up the 7pt deficit in the race for US Senate in MN. He didn't directly call it a concession speech, but said he put up a good fight and his political career might be over after this. @WCCO pic.twitter.com/B22vICgBmh
— Jeff Wagner (@Jeff_Wagner4) November 4, 2020
Lewis, on the other hand, served as the U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District between 2017 and 2019, when he was defeated by Democrat Angie Craig. The former radio talk show host was an ardent supporter of President Donald Trump.
WEB EXTRA: Click here for full election results.
While Lewis was Smith’s main competitor for the seat, she also faced two other opponents: Kevin O’Connor from the Legal Marijuana Now party and Oliver Steinberg from Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis.
In recent months, Smith has said she wants to see more relief bills to support small businesses, schools, and the unemployed during the COVID-19 pandemic. She also supports the legalization of recreational marijuana, and improving the Affordable Care Act. Lewis, on the other hand, has supported President Trump’s opposition to COVID-19 restrictions and emphasized “law and order.”
Smith had the advantage of funds throughout the race, and was favored to win over Lewis.