Twin Cities PBS Logo

An Election Battle Is Underway in Minnesota's Suburbs and Rural Areas

By Mary Lahammer

Days before the 2020 election, more than a million votes had already been cast in Minnesota, and in-person early voting saw brisk turnout. That's especially true after a last-minute court decision requiring ballots to be in by Election Day.

The suburbs are a serious battleground with visits from candidates and targeted coordination to win over suburban women in particular.  Incumbent Democratic Congresswoman Angie Craig said, “It's pretty extraordinary to tell you I am the first woman to represent the Second Congressional District." She added, "It took 100 years after women got the right to vote to have a woman represent the district.”

Republican challenger and former Marine Tyler Kistner told a crowd, “You can tell by the tightness of my pants, I’m a millennial. As Indiana Jones used to say, 'It’s not the years, it’s the miles.' In all the experience I've gained in nine years of service, four overseas tours, working national-level policy, working national security strategy..."

Minnesota’s Second Congressional District is getting lots of attention: It flipped from Republican to Democratic two years ago, and reports say Republicans recruited a now deceased marijuana party candidate to try to take votes away from the Democrat here and elsewhere.

Congress isn’t the only thing that could be decided in the suburbs - the battle is on in the only divided legislature in the nation. Democrats control the Minnesota House, while Republicans run the Senate.

Republicans are making gains in rural Minnesota, with repeated visits from President Trump’s campaign, which has made more than half a dozen trips to the state, most recently stopping in the southern Minnesota community of Rochester where he predicted he would win the state. At a rally, Trump said the DFL governor and attorney general tried to shut down his rally, which had to adhere to state limits on crowds as COVID-19 cases surge in Minnesota and surrounding states. "I said no way I’ll abandon the people of Minnesota.”

Meanwhile, again coming to the state on the same day: Vice President Biden returned to the North Star State. At the Minnesota State Fair grounds, he noted that  George Floyd was killed miles from here, declared looting and violence intolerable and that justice will be served. The crowd gathered in cars during the pandemic was urged: “Honk your horn if you want America to be united again."

When former child actor Brock Pierce - who is also running for President as an Independent candidate - traveled to Minnesota, he got some pointers from former third-party governor Jesse Ventura and former U.S. Senator Dean Barkley, who earned major party status for the Reform Party, which later became the Independence Party. Almanac Political Reporter Mary Lahammer takes a look at the influence of third parties in Minnesota politics.

Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District is home to a tight race leading up to the November 2020 election. One Greater Minnesota Reporter Kaomi Goetz takes a look at the issues at stake as longtime incumbent Collin Peterson runs against former Lt. Governor Michelle Fischbach.

President Donald Trump tested positive for the coronavirus the day after visiting Minnesota, where he met with Republican legislative leaders and three Minnesota members of Congress, who flew with him on Air Force One before Trump appeared in front of thousands. Prior to his diagnosis, Mary Lahammer spoke with local experts about the political change in the Northland.

Mary Lahammer Read More
TPT Logo
©2024 Twin Cities Public Television