Updated: September 04, 2020 06:28 PM
Created: September 04, 2020 05:30 PM
Every presidential election year, it seems we read and and hear that Minnesota will be a "battleground" state. Then, every four years since 1976, it ends up in the win column for Democrats. Richard Nixon was the last Republican to win Minnesota in 1972.
"We're going to focus very hard on Minnesota," President Donald Trump told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS in an exclusive interview in Mankato on Aug. 17. "We've done so much for Minnesota. I think we're going to win."
The fact Trump was in Minnesota on the first day of the Democratic National Convention trying to take the spotlight off [Joe] Biden is an indication he plans to compete hard in Minnesota. In 2016, he only campaigned here once late in the campaign and still nearly won the state. It helped that his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, didn't campaign here at all.
"We take nothing for granted," Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS on Friday. "We started organizing in Minnesota in 2017 and that paid real dividends in 2018. Governor [Tim] Walz won by a double-digit margin. The largest margin in 30 years for a DFL candidate. Tina Smith won the Senate race double digits margins. Amy Klobuchar's re-election."
But a lot has changed since 2018 with a pandemic and racial unrest and violence sweeping the nation.
The Trump campaign plans to focus on what they claim is Biden's failure to criticize the violent protests.
"We want to protect the people of this country," Trump campaign spokesman Hogan Gidley told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS this week. "It's about safety and security and Joe Biden saw this looting, this rioting, the damage, the death and destruction for 90 days and said nothing."
Biden's campaign plans to counter with a message about President Trump's pandemic response.
"The pandemic and his putrid response, his anemic response to the pandemic is hurting people," Perez said. "Loss of lives, loss of jobs."
The jobs issue might be turning in the president's favor with a big gain in employment in the latest economic report.
Both sides said they plan to spend more time in Minnesota than in 2016. Both also plan to spend more money. The Trump campaign has already reserved up to $14 million in ad time, while Biden's campaign countered with $3 million so far. Millions more is expected to be spent by special interest groups.
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