MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Minnesota Thursday is the latest effort by President Donald Trump to turn Minnesota from a reliably Democratic state to a Republican one.

Pence paid tribute to the late Sen. John McCain at the American Legion convention in Minneapolis.

“America will always remember and honor the lifetime of service of United States Sen. John McCain,” Pence said.

The vice president then rushed to a fundraiser for the Minnesota Republican Party in Bloomington.

Vice President Mike Pence (credit: CBS)

It was Pence’s third visit to Minnesota in five months. President Trump hosted a raucous rally for Republican candidates in Duluth in June, and Republican Party Chair Jennifer Carnahan says Trump could be back soon.

“I am actually very optimistic that President Trump will be visiting Minnesota sometime before Nov. 6,” Carnahan said.

She says the Trump administration is eyeing Minnesota because of an open governor’s seat, two U.S. Senate elections and four Congressional races ranked as tossups.

So where are national Democrats? WCCO-TV reached out to the Minnesota Democratic Party and did not hear back.

Political analyst Larry Jacobs says Democrats may be relying on an anti-Trump backlash.

“The big question though is will Donald Trump’s visits also help to mobilize Democrats who so dislike the President?” Jacobs said.

The one star campaigner nationally on the Democratic side this year has been Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, who campaigned for long-time ally Rep. Keith Ellison, who is running to be Minnesota’s next attorney general.

Ellison, who is the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, has been struggling to fight back against #MeToo allegations.

Esme Murphy

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