Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and President Trump cross paths for the second day in a row in a major battlefield state.
On Thursday, they faced off in Florida. Friday – With only four days left until the November 3 general election, the confrontation is taking place in Minnesota, suggesting that a state that has long been supported by Democrats in the presidential election may be in play.
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President Richard Nixon was the last Republican to win the state – during his 1972 landslide re-election.
But four years ago, Trump narrowly lost Minnesota and its 10 electoral votes to the Democratic candidate of 2016, Hillary Clinton, and for over a year, the president and his re-election campaign have seen the state in hopes of breaking the losing streak and turning it from blue to red.
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An average of the latest polls in the state indicates the former vice president with a mid-digit advantage over Trump, but surveys suggest Trump has gained ground over the past month. The strength of the bid is concentrated in the twin cities and surrounding suburbs, while Trump measures best in the more rural areas of the rest of the state known as Greater Minnesota.
The president’s event – which is scheduled for a few days – will be held at 17 local time at the airport in the southeastern city of Rochester, though the location of the event was moved twice due to the state’s coronavirus restrictions for large crowds. And the event will be dramatically smaller than the president’s typical gatherings, where supporters are packed together without social distance and there is limited use of masks.
Aiming at the state’s Democratic governor and attorney general, the Trump campaign said Thursday night that “thanks to the pro-government dictatorships of Tim Timz and Attorney General Keith Ellison, only the first 250 people will be admitted.”
On Thursday afternoon, the Biden campaign announced that the former vice president would hold a socially distant car ride in the capital St. Paul at 15.30 local time just 90 minutes before the Trump event started.
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“We get presidential visits four days out. That means we are in play, ”Minnesota-based GOP strategist Amy Koch told Fox News.
Koch, the first and only woman to be elected leader of the majority in the Minnesota Senate, stressed that Democrats “always take Minnesota for granted. No one can ever believe Minnesota is in play and it was a mistake Hillary Clinton’s camp made in 2016 and it almost cost them. The city camp at least seems to be aware of that, but they always seem to play catch up. ”
But Democratic strategist Mike Erlandson said traveling Friday by the two national party leaders “tells me that the Trump campaign is a bit desperate and that Biden feels good enough that he can come to a state that sees seems to be pretty blue at the moment. “
The former Democratic Party chairman told Fox News that “it’s close,” but that “all the early voting indicates that Minnesota is doing very well” for Biden. Erlandson said Biden added his last-minute trip after Trump’s stop was already planned, suggesting Biden may be trying to “regret what the president is trying to do.”
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Friday night’s rally will be the president’s fourth campaign stop in Minnesota this year. And Biden’s twin city visit will be his second for the state since he formally became his party’s candidate at the Democratic convention in August.
The events on Friday will be the second time both Biden and Trump are in the state the same day. Both campaigns in northern Minnesota on Sept. 18 with Biden in Duluth and Trump in Bemidji.
The Trump campaign began building resources in Minnesota early in the 2020 cycle. Biden’s campaign has been catching up in recent months, and both teams have cut off large sums of money from running ads in the state for the last two months of the campaign.
Prior to arriving in Minnesota, Biden promoted in neighboring Iowa, another swing state. And after his Twin Cities stop, the former vice president campaigns in another nearby battlefield, Wisconsin.
The president also fights Friday in Wisconsin as well as the battlefield in Michigan.