MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Republican and Democratic presidential candidates are making big pushes in Minnesota ahead of this Tuesday.
This time around, our state is part of the Super Tuesday caucuses and primaries. Chelsea Clinton was in Minnetonka on Sunday on behalf of her mother, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont was in Rochester on Saturday and will be back in Minneapolis Monday.
On the Republican side, Florida Senator Marco Rubio will be in Andover Tuesday and the father of Texas Congressman Ted Cruz was in Ramsey Saturday campaigning. Super Tuesday makes up about one quarter of the total delegates available for candidates on both sides.
Minnesota isn’t the largest state of the 12 holding caucuses and primaries on Super Tuesday, but analysts say it is big enough to have an impact.
Hamline University political science professor David Schultz explains Super Tuesday states aren’t winner-takes-all races.
“There are enough delegates on both sides to make it worthwhile for candidates to be campaigning here,” Schultz said.
Schultz said where each candidate is choosing to spend his or her time in the final days says a lot about strategy.
While Hillary Clinton is spending much of her time in southern states and sending surrogates to Minnesota in the final days, Senator Bernie Sanders is showing up in person.
“He is running a broader campaign across the state and has visited more parts of state than Clinton,” Schultz said.
Schultz explained while Clinton had a major victory among African American and women voters in South Carolina, Sanders may have a chance in Minnesota based on the state’s demographics.
“Minnesota still has a mostly white, young and very liberal population that still has a very important role for labor unions,” Schultz said.
Ted Cruz is also spending much of his time down south, fighting against front-runner Donald Trump for his home state of Texas.
Schultz expects Rubio, who has garnered recent endorsements in Minnesota from some political leaders, may benefit from moderate Republicans in Minnesota.
“Maybe he’s sort of banking a lot on this as one of his last stands,” Schultz said.
Schultz said he is surprised there haven’t been any recent public polls in Minnesota that indicate possible front-runners.
Schultz suspects one reason may be the cost for conducting a poll, which runs in the tens of thousands of dollars.
Schultz recommends watching candidates’ moves in the coming days.
“We can possibly guess by looking at the behavior of candidates to see what polls are telling them if they’re doing internal polls, and I suspect they are,” he said.
Winner-takes-all primaries on March 15th for states like Florida and Ohio are expected to be a major deciding factor in narrowing the field.
Schultz does not to expect any candidates to visit Minnesota after the conventions in July when nominees are picked, since Minnesota has voted for the democratic nominee in every presidential election since 1972, when Minnesota went to Richard Nixon.