MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s a busy week in Minnesota for presidential candidates on one side of the aisle. Three Democrats have campaigned or plan to be in the Twin Cities in a span of seven days.
Political analysts say it shows the importance Minnesota will play in the 2020 election.
On a beautiful Sunday afternoon, Boom Island Park played host to another Democratic presidential hopeful. This time it was entrepreneur Andrew Yang under sunshine and blue skies, a stark contrast from a few months earlier when Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced her campaign in the same spot amid a well-timed snowstorm.
Yang’s visit is the second of three in a one-week span by Democratic candidates.
Last week, Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, rallied with supporters at Fine Line Music Cafe in Minneapolis. This coming Wednesday, Beto O’Rourke will host a meet and greet and town hall in the Twin Cities.
“Just having all these opportunities to see how people support what ideas is big to know who to vote for,” said Jimmy Ji, who attended Yang’s rally. “Doing it early definitely helps to make an informed decision.”
There’s also some strategy at play. Political analyst Larry Jacobs said Minnesota’s voters are of particular interest in 2020. Candidates are, of course, trying to gain supporters, volunteers, and campaign donations, but Jacobs said it could also have to do with Minnesota’s neighbor to the south.
“The candidates coming through are looking for a way to bounce into Iowa and a lot of the press coverage in Minnesota reaches that kind of northern tier of Iowa,” Jacobs said. “There’s also Super Tuesday, which is early March 2020. It seems far off, but the candidates are already thinking about it, particularly in a crowded field.”
It’s a move he said Republicans are also trying to accomplish, specifically President Donald Trump.
“We’re gonna see a whole lot of the White House in Minnesota because they think this is a winnable state after almost capturing it by less than two points in 2016 with very little effort,” Jacobs said.
In a state that might now be considered more purple than blue, campaign stops for both parties could be more important than ever.
“I feel like if you speak to other Minnesotans you’ll find that a lot of us are fairly open to just hearing about what people have to say and then we’ll make up our own minds,” said David Fan of Bloomington, who also attended Yang’s rally.
The number of Democratic candidates visiting Minnesota early doesn’t bode well for Sen. Klobuchar, Jacobs said.
“Amy Klobuchar is not getting a home-field advantage to this point. In the national polls, she’s barely above 1%,” he said. “Bernie Sanders is reported to have 30,000 supporters in Minnesota and we’re continuing to see all sorts of candidates coming through the state.”
This weekend, Sen. Klobuchar campaigned in Iowa.
Beto O’Rourke’s town hall will be this Wednesday at Edison High School in Minneapolis at 6:10 p.m.