Deep blue Minnesota, which hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate in 47 years, appears to be in play, and at least two people know it: Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.
The North Star State has been a Republican version of flyover country for presidential candidates going back decades. After all, the last one to be awarded its electoral votes was Richard Nixon in 1972.
Ronald Reagan lost but a single state in what could only be called a rout in his 1984 re-election bid. That state was Minnesota.
But something happened in 2016. Although Trump all but ignored the state, he came within fewer than 45,000 votes of taking it.
Trump only spent about $30,000 in Minnesota in 2016; he plans to spend tens of millions in the coming 13 months.
That’s also why Trump made his fourth visit to Minnesota Thursday evening, this time entering what might be called the true belly of the beast: Minneapolis, home to Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar.
"It is a full-on major effort state campaign," Trump campaign spokesmen Tim Murtaugh said. "And we will have the resources behind it to make it count."
And the city’s mayor knows Republicans could bank his state’s electoral votes, and he’s doing everything he can to make it difficult on the Trump camp, including charging it an exorbitant security fee for the rally — more than a half-million dollars.
In comparison, Minneapolis reportedly charged former President Barack Obama $20,000 for a health care-themed rally at the same venue in 2009.
Trump blasted Frey for both the inflated fee and the mayor’s decision that banned city police officers from appearing in uniform at the event — although they were on full display for Obama’s appearance.
Law enforcement found a way to fight back, however. They were lined up three rows deep behind the president wearing “Make America Great Again” caps and bright-red shirts announcing that they were “Cops for Trump.”
Frey also issued a proclamation calling Thursday “Love Trump’s Hate Day” in the city, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
The mayor then briefly stepped up the attack, as Minnesota Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan informed Fox News host Bill Hemmer Thursday morning.
“Last night we found out that he’s now actually blocking the press from interviewing the rally-goers while they wait in line in the skyway,” which provides the entrance into the Minneapolis Target Center, the rally’s venue, she explained.
Someone must have informed Frey that keeping reporters separated from Trump supporters could be viewed as a violation of First Amendment freedom of the press — and lead to a costly lawsuit. The ban lasted less than 24 hours.
“NEWSFLASH: The city of Minneapolis ‘relaxed the policy’ at noon today and TV cameras are now allowed in the Skyway,” Carnahan tweeted Thursday afternoon. “So any tweets (@wccoradio) saying I was incorrect are wrong. This was given to me by someone that works at a TV station in our city. #KAG”
Carnahan is also keenly aware that her state is in play. She gave Hemmer a breakdown of just how close Trump came to winning Minnesota in 2016, despite having no personnel on the ground there.
“He was plus-16 points in northern Minnesota, plus-15 points in southern Minnesota, plus-30 pointes in western Minnesota in 2016,” she said, adding, “He’s not as weak in the suburbs as is being reported.”
Out of 2,968,281 votes cast in Minnesota for president in 2016, Trump lost by only 44,765 — 1.5 percent. Democrat Hillary Clinton won the state and its 10 electoral votes by a plurality of 46.1 percent. Trump captured 44.6 percent, a 1.5 point difference.
But it’s not just numbers that are putting Minnesota in play for Republicans. There’s also the excitement that the candidate and what he’s accomplished in fewer than 1,000 days. And no one knows that better than Minnesota businessman and Trump supporter Mike Lindell.
“Everybody voted for him on faith that there would be something good, finally, and boy has he provided it,” Lindell, better known as the “My Pillow” guy told The Associated Press.
It takes 270 electoral votes to win a presidential election. Trump won 304 electoral votes in 2016, taking 30 states plus Maine’s congressional district-2. If he were to add Minnesota to the win column while maintaining his 2016 victories, he would place 314 votes into his pocket, while giving his opponent only 217 — a difference of 97.
Not quite Reagan’s 1984 landslide, but something to crow about nonetheless.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. To read more of his reports — Click Hee Now.
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