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Talking Points: Does Campaigning At The Fair Work?

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(credit: CBS) Esme Murphy
Esme Murphy, a reporter and Sunday morning anchor for WCCO-TV, h...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Anyone who goes to the Fair will find themselves meeting a lot of political candidates and their surrogates passing out literature.

In this age, when campaigns are dominated by big budget ad campaigns and social media strategies, the time honored tradition of politicians pressing the flesh at the fair has never been bigger.

The fair’s obvious benefit is that that is where the crowds are. Politicians can shake a lot of hands, but are they really winning over voters?

Take Sen. Amy Klobuchar. She is running for re-election and polls put her 25 points above her Republican challenger Kurt Bills. Yet Klobuchar expects to be at the fair almost every day, for most of the day. The Senator appeared on WCCO Sunday Morning to explain why the Fair is something she wouldn’t miss.

“People actually come up to you and tell you what’s on their mind. They may not send an email, they may not call your office or write a letter. They may not have the time. But if they’re just walking by and they see you here, they actually will talk to you about an issue, something that’s wrong in their lives, something that they think they have a problem with on a national level,” Klobuchar said. “I think it’s the best place to really meet people.”

For those who hold state-wide office, coming to the fair has a special benefit. As Sen. Al Franken likes to put it — at the fair, the whole state comes to you. And considering Franken won his election in 2008 by 312 votes — maybe just maybe, it was those hands he shook at the fair that made the difference.

You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy at 10:30. And starting Sept. 9, Esme along with meteorologist Matt Brickman will also be on at 6 a.m. every Sunday Morning.

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