Candidates for Minnesota governor clashed in a heated, third and final debate before Election Day that was loaded with insults.
Democratic incumbent Gov. Tim Walz has held a healthy lead over Dr. Scott Jensen, the GOP nominee, throughout the race. However, polls have tightened in recent weeks with RealClearPolitics’ average of political polls reporting Waltz is up just 2.5 points over his Republican challenger.
Throughout the debate, both interjected with mid-sentence digs, with Jensen remarking “take a breath Tim” and “I almost fell asleep” at certain points. Walz repeatedly accused Jensen of spreading “lies” and “misinformation.”
The pair sparred over education in Minnesota, Jensen accusing Walz of overzealous lockdowns, supporting critical race theory and having unclear policy proposals for a “fully funded” education system.
On the COVID-19 pandemic response, Jensen considered himself to be a “skeptic” of Minnesota’s polices, disagreeing on tactics with nursing home patients, school lockdowns, shuttering businesses and refusing to acknowledge natural immunity when considering vaccine mandates.
Walz accused Jensen of promoting “reckless, dangerous” COVID policies and “internet conspiracy theories,” while also taking a dig at Jensen for having his medical license investigated five times.
Jensen called on Walz to “trust parents” and pledge not to impose a vaccine mandate on children. Walz replied he will not impose a mandate “as of right now,” stipulating that “we will see” with later variants of the coronavirus in the future.
Walz deflected blame when pressed on whether he could have done more to prevent the $250 million in funds that were fraudulently collected from the Feeding the Future scheme in 2020. Walz has gone back and forth with the press on when exactly he first learned of the scheme.
Walz, seeking a second term as Minnesota governor, and Jensen, an American physician, will now make their final pushes to voters on the campaign trail until Election Day.