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Fact check: Stauber, Schultz make claims in Brainerd debate

The two 8th Congressional District candidates will share a stage one last time in Hibbing on Friday.

Jen Schultz and Pete Stauber stand at podiums during a candidate debate
Democratic candidate Jen Schultz, left, answers a question during a candidate debate with Republican U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber on Monday at Madden's Town Hall in East Gull Lake.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch
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BRAINERD — Incumbent U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber, a Republican from Hermantown, and his Democratic challenger, state Rep. Jen Schultz, of Duluth, sparred over a range of issues Monday evening in their second debate in a week.

The debate, which lasted more than an hour, was held at Madden’s on Gull Lake in Brainerd and presented by the Brainerd, Crosslake, Nisswa and Pequot Lakes chambers of commerce; League of Women Voters; Brainerd Dispatch; Pine and Lakes Echo Journal; Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation; and the Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corp. It was moderated by Kevin Doran, a KSTP anchor and reporter and Brainerd native.

It was the second of three debates between the two in this election cycle. Their final debate will be held Friday in Hibbing.

They each brought up each other's records on policing and public safety.

Here's a fact check of some of the claims made by each candidate Monday:

Schultz: “Pete Stauber is in something called the Problem Solvers Caucus.”

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Stauber responded: “I just want to correct something that my opponent said, the fact that I am in the Problem Solvers Caucus. I don’t know where you got that information.”

Stauber was once in the Problem Solvers Caucus, but it’s unclear whether he is still in the caucus, which is made up of Republicans and Democrats “committed to finding common ground on many of the key issues facing the nation,” its website said .

As of Monday evening, the caucus is not listed on Stauber’s congressional website .

At the beginning of the current 117th Congress, the caucus listed Stauber as one of its new members in a Jan. 22, 2021, news release . And on March 3, 2021, when highlighting his Justice Act, a police reform bill, an email newsletter from his office said: “Now, when we voted on Democrats’ legislation last year, it was dead upon passage. But some of my good friends and I in the Problem Solvers Caucus decided that this conversation was too important to let go.”

DebateSchultzStauber6.jpg
Republican U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber, right, responds to a question during a debate against his Democratic opponent Jen Schultz on Monday at Madden's Town Hall in East Gull Lake.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

A year earlier, on March 4, 2020, an official email from Stauber’s office had a caption of a photo that said: “Today, I along with my colleagues on the Problem Solvers Caucus attended a meeting on the coronavirus with Vice President Pence.”

The News Tribune tried to ask both Stauber and Troy Young, of Stauber’s campaign, to clarify if Stauber was still in the caucus and, if he wasn’t, when he left. Young cited the News Tribune’s last debate fact check in his refusal to speak with the newspaper.

Stauber: “The Hyde Amendment was in place for over 30 years. That said no taxpayer money for abortion. Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi threw it out. Now, abortions in this country and across the world are being paid for by the taxpayers.”

The Hyde Amendment, which took effect in 1980 , bars the use of Medicaid or other federal funds to cover abortion services.

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It remains in effect. However, Biden supports ending it. He left it out of a bill to fund the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education department in 2021, but the amendment was ultimately included in the bill before it was passed, The Hill reported .

And last week, when asked by NowThisNews whether he would support federal funds for people needing to take time off work or get child care to get an abortion, Biden said: “Absolutely. The answer is absolutely.”

U.S. federal funding for international abortions as a method of family planning is restricted by the Helms amendment, which is still in effect. But within days of taking office, Biden ended the so-called “Mexico City Rule,” which prohibited funding for nongovernmental groups providing or referring abortions to patients, The Washington Post reported at the time.

Schultz: “It's hard to regulate an industry like Purdue Pharma when they're funding (Stauber’s) campaign.”

This is false. According to opensecrets.org , which tracks donations to federal candidates, no donations by Purdue Pharma or its political action committee were made to Stauber in 2018, 2020 or 2022, the three election cycles he’s run for the 8th Congressional District seat.

This was said in an exchange on immigration and fentanyl, a powerful opioid. Purdue Pharma, which manufactured and pushed opioids like OxyContin, is largely to blame for the opioid crisis.

One more debate

A final forum between the two is scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday on Hibbing Public Access Television. It will air live on Hibbing Mediacom channels 807 and 117-7 and stream live on HPAT.org, the Hibbing Public Access Television Facebook page, its YouTube channel, ROKU Channel and AppleTV app.

This story originally listed the incorrect opioid manufactured and pushed by Purdue Pharma. It was updated at 4:13 p.m. Oct. 26 with the correct drug name. The News Tribune regrets the error.

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DebateSchultzStauber3.jpg
Democrat Jen Schultz, left, debates Republican U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber on Monday at Madden's Town Hall in East Gull Lake.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Jimmy Lovrien covers energy, mining and the 8th Congressional District for the Duluth News Tribune. He can be reached at jlovrien@duluthnews.com or 218-723-5332.
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