MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — All over the state of Minnesota, voters have their own sets of political issues guiding their decisions on what presidential candidates they end up choosing in the Minnesota primary elections and, ultimately, in November.

WCCO’s John Lauritsen was in Howard Lake in Wright County on Tuesday. It’s a town of about 2,000 people roughly 50 miles west of the Twin Cities, an area surrounded by farms and farm families.

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Like much of rural Minnesota, Wright County voted for President Trump in 2016. But there’s plenty they’d like to see from all the candidates before making a decision in November.

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The Marquardt family raises cattle and farms about a thousand acres near Howard Lake. They’ve seen some of their neighbors stop farming due to commodity prices. Despite that, they say money from the federal government has helped, and they hope trade negotiations with China continue even if they have to sacrifice in the meantime.

“Most people aren’t super happy but are satisfied enough with how things are going,” Dave Marquardt said.

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Dave and his wife Julie Marquardt believe Trump has listened to farmers, but they also believe Democrats can help themselves in rural Minnesota.

“It depends on who the vice-president is. If the VP understands rural America, the Democrats might stand a chance in some of those rural areas,” Julie Marquardt said. “I’m a mother of five children and I want the next generation to be here.”

Voters WCCO talked with in downtown Howard Lake agreed. Some said they would be interested in Amy Klobuchar as a vice-presidential candidate, while others said even that wouldn’t keep the from voting for Trump.

Voters said they had a panoply of issues they were concerned over this cycle, from education and health care, to veterans rights and climate change. Here is a sample of what they told Lauritsen:

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  • “Education is top priority for me. Kids are everything, and they’re our fugure,” Kylie Fie said.
  • “I’m a veteran so I think that’s kind of one of the top focuses for me, veterans’ rights and veterans’ health care,” Ryan Streich said.
  • “I’ll vote for Trump. I ain’t ashamed of it. For me he’s done more for this country than a lot of the other people have,” Mike Eggert said.
  • “It’s tough, I mean, we’re going back and forth over the three candidates. I finally decided, just vote for who I really like [Elizabeth Warren],” Tom Ratzloff said.

Voters also brought up issues like the trade war, immigration and women’s rights. A couple voters said they’d be interested in voting for Sen. Amy Klobuchar if she hadn’t already dropped out of the race.

John Lauritsen