Democrats are increasingly concerned that Minnesota, which has not voted for a Republican presidential candidate in 48 years, could flip for President Trump next week, given the GOP’s “significant operation” in the state and the Democrats’ stunning lack of canvassing in recent months.
The GOP is vying for battleground states such as Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, and hopes to expand the map by flipping Minnesota red. President Trump came close four years ago, losing the state by fewer than 45,000 votes. In recent weeks, Democrats have acknowledged the Republicans’ ground game in the state and fear that it may cost them the decades-long blue state.
The Atlantic’s Peter Nicholas reports that Democrats estimate there to be “as many as 250,000 white residents who didn’t go to college—the heart of Trump’s base” who were not registered to vote during the last presidential election. Now, Republicans are “taking pains to find them.” It is something Ken Martin, the chair of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, described as a “significant operation”:
While Democrats in the state have largely suspended door-to-door campaigning because of the pandemic, Republicans have kept at it. Last week, volunteers knocked on more than 130,000 doors in the state, a campaign official told me. “This is the largest organization that we’ve seen a Republican put into this state, in terms of advertising dollars, principal visits, and staff on the ground. … There’s no doubt that they have a significant operation here.
In addition to $1.2 million in advertising in the final stretch of the race, the Trump campaign reportedly set out dozens of field staffers — 60, according to Nicholas — in the North Star State. That reflects “a level of Republican intensity surpassing that of any race in memory,” though Democrats “say they have many more staffers on the ground in the state.”
Recent moves by the Biden campaign also point to what appears to be mounting concerns. On Thursday, the Biden campaign added a stop in St. Paul to the former vice president’s schedule, which already had him visiting Iowa and Wisconsin.
Recent polling out of Minnesota shows the race tightening. Friday afternoon’s RealClearPolitics average showed Biden up 4.7 percent in the state. However, polls vastly overestimated the lead Clinton held in Minnesota in 2016. A KSTP/SurveyUSA taken in late October 2016 showed Clinton up by 11 percent.
“Knowing what we do about 2016, we would all be foolish to imbue the polls with undue certainty,” pollster Charles Franklin told the Atlantic.
Biden’s last-minute stop in the state will coincide with President Trump’s, who is holding a rally in Rochester, Minnesota, Friday evening. It will be his third rally of the day, as he is also making stops in Michigan and Wisconsin. As Breitbart News reported, Trump’s Minnesota rally will be limited to 250 guests due to Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison putting pressure on the campaign and business owners, needling them for a “COVID Preparedness Plan,” as Breitbart News reported:
The rally was initially planned at the Rochester airport, but Ellison’s office demanded a “COVID preparedness plan” from officials from the City of Rochester, Olmsted County, and the Rochester airport, as well as the Republican National Committee to ensure the event was safe.
The event was then moved to Dodge Center, prompting Ellison’s office to ask the Trump campaign and the owner of the building McNeilus Steel for their “COVID Preparedness Plan.” That prompted the Trump campaign to move the event again, back to the airport.
“Thanks to the free speech-stifling dictates of Gov. Tim Walz and Attorney General Keith Ellison, only the first 250 people will be admitted,” the campaign said in a statement on Thursday.
“Without question, Minnesota Democrats had hoped that the President would simply cancel the event, but he will not allow partisan politicians to deprive people of their First Amendment rights to gather peacefully to hear directly from the President of the United States,” the campaign continued.
Meanwhile, leftists, anticipating a Trump victory in the state, are “preparing for post-election mass unrest while planning to execute wide scale ‘strategic disruption,'” according to a confidential document obtained by Breitbart News.
Former Rep. Jason Lewis, the Republican Senate candidate for Minnesota, said during an October 13 appearance on Breitbart News Tonight he believes the Minnesota suburbs are largely coming back “because of the fear for riots, and public safety and Second Amendment.”
“And I think that’s our pathway,” he said.
Trump held a rally in Duluth, Minnesota, one month ago, and a majority of attendees were not Republicans, according to Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. Additionally, 17 percent of those who attended had not voted in 2016:
Our data from the Duluth Rally shows @realDonaldTrump is still bringing in tons of new voters:
60% of attendees were NOT Republican
20.9% were Democrat
17.2% did not vote in 2016
8.4% have not voted in last 4 elections
Thank you, Minnesota!
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) October 1, 2020
“Thirty-four days from now, we’re going to win Minnesota,” Trump said at the rally. “We’re going to go and win four more beautiful years in the White House and do more than anybody’s ever done before from the White House. We’re looking to set records.”