Former GOP U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis, who built a career as a conservative radio talk show host before entering Minnesota politics, announced Thursday that he is running for United States Senate, hoping to take on DFL incumbent Sen. Tina Smith next year. 

Lewis made his announcement at the Republican Party of Minnesota booth at the Minnesota State Fair on the first day of the fair’s 12-day run. 

“Let the battle begin,” he said. “Let’s have a battle about issues. Let’s have a battle about ideas. Let’s have a battle about life and liberty and property."

At times he sounded like he was taking on 5th District DFL U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar and other members of Congress who are proposing sweeping environmental, health care and economic changes. Lewis said most Minnesotans reject their agenda, especially in rural parts of the state.

“I know a lot of Democrats that don’t want to eliminate private health insurance. I know a lot of Democrats that want a reasonable immigration compromise to build the wall. The Democrats wouldn’t go along with that, but a lot of Democrats out here believe in that.”

Lewis has been contemplating a run for some time, and in June told MPR News that he will tie himself closely to President Trump in a statewide campaign. 

Trump has said repeatedly he intends to target Minnesota in his re-election effort and that he believes he could have won the state in 2016 if he had made one more campaign appearance here. 

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