By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It seems Minnesota certainly matters in the 2020 presidential race.

The two most recent polls show the race is tied in Minnesota. That’s why President Donald Trump unveiled new ads in the state Wednesday.

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After appearing briefly in a Zoom meeting with Sen. Tina Smith on back-to-school concerns, Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris sat down virtually with WCCO to address Minnesota voters.

“I do believe that a path to victory runs through Minnesota,” Harris said.

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Her virtual visit comes on the same day that the Trump campaign unveiled a $14-million ad buy for Minnesota, and a separate buy in Wisconsin — another must-win battleground state.

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“I think [the ads are] underestimating the intelligence of the American people and Minnesotans. People want to know that their leaders have a plan to help us get out of the crises were facing, not to just to continue to stoke fear and hatred,” Harris said. “Joe and I would never condone violence or destruction of personal property by any means. That is not peaceful protest. That’s not protected by the constitution, and it’s not OK.”

But recent violence is clearly a dominant Republican theme, as Minnesota GOP Party Chair Jennifer Carnahan stressed in a Zoom call.

“Joe Biden’s candidacy for America is dangerous,” Carnahan said.

Minnesota has not voted for a Republican for president in nearly 50 years, but Sen. Harris says she and Biden are not taking Minnesota for granted. And neither is President Trump, with unprecedented ad campaign and recent campaign visits to the state.

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Early voting in the presidential race in Minnesota starts two weeks from Thursday, on Sept. 18.

Esme Murphy