The Potluck

Republican congressional candidate Tyler Kistner is ‘pro-life’ but no longer vocal about it

By: - September 20, 2022 3:07 pm

U.S. Rep. Angie Craig (left) and is running against GOP-endorsed candidate Tyler Kistner in the 2nd congressional district. Courtesy photos.

The Republican nominee for Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District seat has touted his “100% pro-life” stance and said that if elected, abortion would be a top priority.

But that was in 2020, before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Like Republicans in tight races across the country, Tyler Kistner is now downplaying his past remarks on abortion. 

Kistner doesn’t list abortion as an issue on his campaign website. In 2020, Kistner’s site said he was “100% pro-life.” 

Kistner’s campaign did not immediately respond to the Reformer’s inquiry about whether Kistner’s anti-abortion stance would be a priority if elected this time around. If Kistner is elected, he may have an opportunity to vote on a national abortion ban if Republicans take the House. 

The Prior Lake Republican’s abortion views differ greatly from Democratic Rep. Angie Craig, whom Kistner is attempting to unseat in a rematch of the 2020 election.

“As a father and person of faith, I’m 100% pro-life,” Kistner’s 2020 website stated. “Life is a sacred gift. Today we are even seeing politicians and legislatures approve abortion up to birth — now is the time to fight and be an advocate.”

On a conservative radio show in 2020, Kistner said if elected he would prioritize boosting the economy and his anti-abortion and pro-Second Amendment stance during his first 100 days in office.

When asked by the host of Northern Alliance Radio if “there is anything people can expect from you in terms of policy positions in your first 100 days in office,” Kistner said his first concern would be the economy after its stagnant performance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“And, you know, with me you get someone who is strongly pro-life and then also pro-Second Amendment. I’ll never let anyone infringe on those rights,” Kistner said.

Kistner indicated earlier this summer in a questionnaire that he would vote to uphold “pro-life law or policy” that’s in effect if he is elected. In a Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life questionnaire, Kistner said he supported limiting taxpayer funding for abortion. He said he would also support legislation that advances an “incremental approach” towards banning abortion, which is a “strategic plan for creating a pro-life nation,” according to the survey.

Public backlash to the Supreme Court’s decision eliminating the constitutional right to an abortion has Republicans in other purple regions scrambling to adjust their positions. Minnesota Republican nominee for governor Scott Jensen has changed his stance on abortion; his latest position is that “abortion’s not on the ballot.”

Kistner said this summer that he does support abortion rights if the mother’s life is in danger, and in cases of rape or incest. Craig earlier this summer ran a television ad saying that Kistner didn’t support exceptions, which outlets fact-checked and found untrue.

Craig beat Kistner narrowly in 2020, winning by 9,580 votes. This year, the race for Minnesota’s 2nd District is among the 32 U.S. House seats that are the most competitive in the country, according to the Cook Political Report.

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Michelle Griffith
Michelle Griffith

Michelle Griffith covers Minnesota politics and policy for the Reformer, with a focus on marginalized communities. Most recently she was a reporter with The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead in North Dakota where she covered state and local government and Indigenous issues. For two years she was also a corps member with Report for America, a national nonprofit that places journalists in local newsrooms and news deserts. She lives in St. Paul and likes to knit and watch documentaries in her free time.

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