Jason Lewis' 2018 reelection campaign was colored, and likely doomed, by the resurfacing of offensive things he'd said on the radio.
Lewis, then representing Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District, tried explaining his rants by saying his radio role was to be provocative and entertaining. If your idea of entertainment is a man angrily complaining he can't call Madonna a slut, you should 1) try literally anything else, and 2) stop trying to reconcile with your ex-wife.
Lewis lost his seat to Democrat Angie Craig, and could've slunk back to a dishonorable life in conservative talk radio and smarmy speaking engagements. Instead, he's back in a big, dumb way, announcing last week that he'd challenge DFL U.S. Sen. Tina Smith in 2020.
Jason is operating under the curious theory that if he can't win in a moderate suburban swing district, he'll do better by exposing himself to voters from Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth. If this thinking makes absolutely no sense, remember, Lewis is less than a year removed from serving as a Republican in Congress.
Just prior to his campaign kick-off at the Minnesota State Fair, we got a glimpse at one plank of his 2020 strategy. Last year's campaign was all about the awful things Jason Lewis has said. This time, it looks like the message is: "Hey, don't judge me! My friends are assholes too!"
That morning, state Sen. Dave Osmek (R-Mound) appeared on the "Up and At 'Em" podcast—"Minnesota's Morning Podcast," according to itself; who knew?—as a campaign surrogate for Lewis.
Osmek, who admitted (more than once) he likes to drink a little bit, and was doing so at the time of recording, told host Benjamin Kruse he's part of Lewis' "kitchen cabinet, you may say." Turns out, he's the knife drawer.
"Tina Smith is as oily and scummy as you could possibly get," said Osmek, submersing himself in the irony of backing a candidate who aligns with Donald Trump.
Osmek's major criticism was Smith's apparent disinterest in debating her 2018 opponent, Sen. Karin Housley (R-St. Marys Point)—"of all people!", Osmek exclaims. City Pages has certainly had its fun with Housley and her tenuous grasp of basic concepts known to most reasonable adults. But if Osmek can't help himself from taking shots at a member of his own caucus—on Minnesota's Morning Podcast, no less!—this might be a sign he's not the most effective communicator.
Jason Lewis will run a "spirited campaign," Osmek said, which ends with him "beatin' the crap out of Tina Smith." Osmek decided his insults to Smith and description of Lewis receiving more votes simply were not badass enough.
"[Smith] is an empty-headed pile of nothing, and Jason's going to chop her into little pieces. And I'm gonna love it."
Let's give Dave some credit here. Realizing his attempted attack came out so disappointingly bland—as insults go, "empty-headed pile of nothing" is Miracle Whip on Wonder Bread—Osmek rescued his line with imagery that literally has his preferred candidate murdering the incumbent.
Later, Osmek says Lewis is a "bare knuckle brawler." It's not clear if Osmek is endorsing a candidate or promoting a wrestling match, but we know he's daring one of you punks to start shit with Jason Lewis and see what happens.
Far be it from us to judge the political savvy of a guy who thought he could win a statewide election.... before learning he was polling at a cool 7 percent in his own party... but, uh, Dave? Next time, blow right past "a couple" beers. Have them all. You'll do less harm to Jason Lewis' campaign if all people hear from you is snoring.