MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In a busy Minneapolis skyway Monday, Republican Jeff Johnson worked the lunchtime crowd.
With public polls showing a tighter-than-expected race, Johnson is sprinting for last-minute votes.
“Literally [in] the last couple of weeks, people have started paying attention, and I think there’s a lot of people who will decide today and tomorrow,” Johnson said. “So I’m just trying to introduce myself to anyone who is willing to talk. It’s been great.”
Across town in north Minneapolis, the Democratic get-out-the-vote effort is in high gear. For Gov. Mark Dayton at the top of the ticket, it’s not only about identifying voters — it’s getting them to the polls.
“I always thought the race would tighten,” Dayton said. “You know, the poll that matters is the one tomorrow. At this point, we’ll just wait it out and see.”
Dayton is on the air with a “Closing Argument” ad, making a case the state has improved on his watch.
The state Republican Party has also put out a newspaper ad, calling Gov. Mark Dayton “erratic.” And a 60-second radio ad was also just released, claiming Dayton won’t protect families from Ebola.
“I’m not going to overreact, but I’m not voting for Dayton,” said a woman in the ad. “I don’t want my family put at risk. And if Ebola comes here, I just can’t trust Dayton as governor.”
DFL leaders called the last-minute Republican Ebola ad campaign a “fear tactic.” And a visibly-angry Dayton said he’s not surprised that this is coming from Republicans.
“They’ve gone from the garbage can into the sewer,” Dayton said. “I mean, it’s just so untrue.”
Johnson declined to disavow the ad. He said it speaks to questions he has about Dayton’s competence.
“Whether it’s Ebola, or whether it’s the schools, or whether it’s MNsure and health care or something else, I think that there’s always a concern this governor is not very engaged,” Johnson said. “He doesn’t seem to know what’s going on in his own administration.”
Voter turnout is expected to be lower than in presidential election years, when Minnesota has the highest turnout in the nation.
Both parties say their turnout efforts are more sophisticated than ever before. The trick Tuesday is actually getting voters to the voting booth.