By Don Davis
Some of the country’s biggest Democratic names plan Minnesota visits this week to help their candidates with two weeks until election day.
While the party’s biggest name, President Barack Obama, is not scheduled to be here, his wife is. So is his former secretary of state, potential presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. And his vice president and other possible presidential hopeful, Joe Biden, plans to be in northeastern Minnesota.
Republicans have not announced any VIP visitors in the next-to-last full week of the 2014 campaign season, although New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a possible presidential candidate, campaigned for GOP candidates last week.
Also, former President Bill Clinton earlier this month attracted 2,700 to a Minneapolis rally. U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Jon Tester of Montana appeared with U.S. Sen. Al Franken during the weekend.
First lady Michelle Obama is to rally Democrats this afternoon at Patrick Henry High School in North Minneapolis. She is coming to campaign for Franken and Gov. Mark Dayton’s re-election campaigns. She is expected to speak after 3:30 p.m.
The get-out-the-vote rally is free, but tickets were needed for people to attend.
Biden will visit the Iron Range and Duluth Thursday. He also visited the area days before the 2012 election.
The vice president is to be in Hibbing to stump for Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, who the latest poll shows trailing Republican challenger Stewart Mills.
Biden also will be in Duluth for an event on domestic violence issues on Thursday
Also Thursday, Hillary Clinton has added an afternoon rally to her previously planned fundraiser for Dayton.
Clinton, a former U.S. senator, will be featured at a rally planned for Macalester College’s Leonard Center Fieldhouse. Tickets are free and available at the DFL Website.
The Clinton fundraiser for Dayton will be early Thursday evening at the St. Paul RiverCentre, with tickets available for up to $2,500 each. Co-hosting the event with Clinton will be Franken and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
“We are excited to have Secretary Clinton back in Minnesota to support Sen. Franken, Gov. Dayton and the DFL ticket,” Chairman Ken Martin of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party said. “There’s a lot of work to do over the next two weeks and Minnesotans are energized to help get out of the vote, volunteer, knock on doors and talk to voters about what’s at stake this election.”
Ag coalition pushes issues
Members of a coalition of Minnesota-based farm and food organizations is touring Minnesota and informing voters in the weeks leading up to the Nov. 4 election about farming and food production issues.
The group, known as A Greater Minnesota, asks voters to support candidates that have signed a pledge that encourages support of farms of all sizes, “environmental stewardship, caring for farm animals, sensible food labeling and food safety.” Sixty-five candidates have signed on.
“Concerns regarding the safety and methods of how our food is produced have increased dramatically in recent years, which is ironic because the care, safety and protected environment of our farm animals has never been better,” said Steve Olson, executive director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association and Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota. “Crops, today, are producing higher yields, nourishing more people, all while using less water, fuel and other chemicals.”
Executive Director David Preisler of the Minnesota Pork Producers Association said farm groups are under pressure “from extreme activists and the views of the majority are not being heard. Our state government needs to be a stronger partner and supporter of Minnesota farmers and ag-related companies if we want to protect and grow this industry.”
Dayton up by 10
A just-released poll shows Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton with a 10-point lead over Republican challenger Jeff Johnson.
The KSTP-SurveyUSA poll reported that half of the likely voters surveyed said they would vote for Dayton, with 40 percent backing Johnson. The rest support another candidate or have not decided.
The poll also shows Republican challenger Stewart Mills leads Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan 47 percent to 39 percent in their northeast and east-central Minnesota district.
Nolan beat Republican Chip Cravaack two years ago, which was just two years after Cravaack upset long-time U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar.
The 8th Congressional District used to be dependably Democratic, but changes such as the district being extended south into GOP territory has made it more of a swing district.