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.