In the race for the White House, both campaigns are pushing hard to get Minnesota votes

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With just two weeks to go in the race for the presidency, there are two wildly divergent campaigns.

But there is one area of agreement: Minnesota and its 10 electoral votes are key for both President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden’s paths to the White House.

“We still believe that Minnesota is still very much in play,” says Steve Cortes, a Trump senior campaign advisor. “Public polling generally shows Joe Biden with a very small lead. Our private internal polls, which we think have inputs, show us with an extremely tight lead.”

Most recent polls here have favored Biden but show that the race is tightening.

A KSTP/Survey USA poll earlier this month showed Biden leading among women, with Trump leading among men, although by a much smaller margin.

The poll found Biden leading in Minneapolis, St. Paul, southern Minnesota and the suburbs.

Trump, according to the poll, leads in western and northwestern Minnesota, and in rural areas.

One reason why both camps are fixated on Minnesota? The 2016 presidential race was a squeaker.

Trump lost to Hillary Clinton in Minnesota by just 45,000 votes, or 1.5 points.

"We are going to send Donald Trump packing,” Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said while stumping for Biden on Sunday in Brooklyn Park.

“Vote like your life depends on it,” she added. “Because it probably does. If everyone votes, Joe Biden isn’t going to win by just a little bit, he’s going to win by a lot.”

Perhaps the clearest sign that the president isn’t taking Minnesotans for granted are a trio of in-state appearances he’s done in this campaign cycle.

“I know the people of Minnesota, and they love winning,” he told an audience during a rally last month in Duluth. “We’re going to keep winning.”

Vice President Mike Pence has campaigned in the state once.

"We absolutely think Minnesota’s a battleground and a swing state,” Cortes said. “A swing state that we almost won in 2016, when we did not dedicate resources to that state."

Joe Biden’s single campaign appearance in Minnesota was on Sept. 18th in Duluth, on the same day the president was campaigning in Bemidji.

Dr. Jill Biden, has also appeared at several campaign events in the Twin Cities.

"One state — this state — could decide our future for generations to come,” she told one audience.

The Trump campaign says the economy is a major reason why the president should have a second term.

"Number one, the grit and ingenuity of the American people,” Cortes said. “Number two, they have the conditions for success because of our entrepreneur-in-chief, President Donald Trump. We know that too many Americans are still out of work through no fault of their own."

But the Biden camp says the president has failed to protect the American people from the pandemic. And Democrats argue Trump is trying to take away the Affordable Care Act.

"Donald Trump is trying to take away health care from tens of millions of Americans,” Warren said. “Democrats are trying to protect access to health care, trying to expand access to health care and will lower the cost of prescription drugs."

Both campaigns are keeping a close eye on Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.

A study by the Wesleyan Media Project found that Biden has spent $223 million on TV ads since April versus Trump’s $161 million.

The Trump campaign, though, says it’s spending more on digital ads.

Insiders are also hinting the president could return to Minnesota one more time before election day.

“We really think that the states of the upper Midwest — Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan — we think of all of these essentially in play,” Cortes says.

“This is about democracy,” Warren said. “If everybody votes, democracy wins.”