Jim Newberger, a Republican who represents District 15B in Central Minnesota, is running hard to replace Sen. Amy Klobuchar. His race is starting to receive national attention. Recently Rush Limbaugh noted that he’s behind by mere single digits: only seven points in some polls. John Gilmore caught up with Newberger by phone. The interview has been edited for clarity and length.
JG: Jim, congratulations on having a far more competitive race against Amy Klobuchar than anyone predicted. Can you tell us what you’ve done to make it so?
JN: Thank you. Seventeen months ago we were down by 33 points. Today it’s 7. That’s real momentum about which we’re very excited. Keep in mind that the poll that showed only a 7 point difference was taken before my debate with Klobuchar last Sunday.
JG: The consensus is you did very well in it and that Klobuchar looked nervous and unsure of herself.
JN: I think the debate showed her weaknesses and her disconnect with the voters of Minnesota. She doesn’t like to debate me. She turned in a poor performance at Farm Fest.
JG: What are the issues in this race, where do you think you’re getting traction?
JN: There has been an awakening: people realize that the Amy Klobuchar we have in Washington D.C. isn’t the same Amy Klobuchar that we have at home. She’s two different people.
JG: Any particular issues in this regard that strike a nerve with voters?
JN: The Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings; the way that she handled it left a truthful but bitter taste in everyone’s mouth.
JG: Her mask slipped and people here noticed?
JN: Absolutely! Minnesotans were very put off by her conduct. And it wasn’t a one off performance, either. Klobuchar worked for weeks to destroy this guy and she didn’t care who got in her way. She went after Kavanaugh, his family, even Dr. Ford. She didn’t care who got destroyed as long as they were able to advance their political agenda. Minnesotans are tired of that.
Klobuchar has never denounced Al Franken. She still supports Keith Ellison. People want us to go to Washington to do our job and to treat people with respect while we do it. That’s what I’ve done in the Minnesota House. I will not treat people in Committee like Amy Klobuchar does. I will treat all people, I don’t care who you are, with respect.
JG: What issues do you plan on emphasizing in the home stretch to November 6?
JN: Healthcare and taxes. I support real choices in healthcare that the free market can bring, higher quality and lower costs. Let me be very clear though: I support coverage for those with preexisting conditions.
JG: Where is Amy Klobuchar on taxes?
BN: She voted against the most sweeping and beneficial tax reform since Ronald Reagan. She voted for the government to keep more of your money. She voted against family farmers by not supporting repeal of the death tax, against keeping the farm in the family.
I can only assume she’d vote to repeal these tax cuts. Amy Klobuchar has never met a tax she didn’t like.
JG: How can people help you most effectively between now and the election? Many are calling our friend Karin Housley’s race a sleeper race but I think it can be fairly said that yours is as well. No one saw that coming!
JN: Get out and vote. We keep hearing this but it can’t be emphasized enough. Republicans who voted for Amy in the past need to know that she is not a moderate. She has a 90% voting record with the extreme, far Left. She comes home and tells people she’s moderate but goes back to D.C. and falls right in line with Chuck Schumer.
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