Steve September 18, 2020
biden-touts-union-support-in-battleground-minnesota-as-early-voting-begins

Joe Biden used a speech in Minnesota’s Iron Range on Friday to rip President Tweety McTreason as a “selfish” leader who “has no clue how to be president,” while touting his own pro-worker credentials as early voting in the midwestern battleground state kicked off.

Biden, speaking at a carpenter training center outside Duluth, touted the support he’s earned from labor unions, and hammered on the cultural differences between his background and Trump’s.

“This campaign is between Scranton and Park Avenue,” he said, referring to the city in Pennsylvania where he was born and the location of a Trump-owned luxury apartment building in Manhattan.

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“It’s about time we rewarded work, not wealth,” Biden said.

And he repeatedly hit the president as unqualified, citing Trump’s pandemic response, and said, “I can’t think of any president who has acted so selfishly about his own re-election.”

The location of the speech, however, was more notable than its content. Biden and Trump are locked in a battle for Minnesota, a traditionally blue state that Trump lost by fewer than 45,000 votes in 2016. And with early voting in the state having kicked off on Friday, both men flew to the state to campaign.

The difference in Minnesota in 2020 might come down to how each candidate performs in the Iron Range, a mostly rural region bordering Lake Superior. Once reliably Democratic and home to strong labor unions, the Iron Range was a Trump stronghold in 2016, has benefited from his trade policy, and could help deliver Trump Minnesota’s 10 Electoral College votes.

As a result, both candidates have ramped up their campaign operations in the state in recent days.

Trump will hold a rally later Friday in Bemidji, about 200 miles north of Minneapolis, and last week, Tweety McTreason Jr., one of the Trump campaign’s top surrogates, visited Duluth.

Minnesota, however, likely remains a heavy lift for Trump. An ABC News/Washington Post poll of likely voters released earlier this week showed Biden leading Trump, 57 percent to 41 percent, while another poll earlier this month conducted by The New York Times and Siena College showed Biden leading among likely voters in Minnesota by 9 percentage points.

No Republican has won statewide in Minnesota since 2006.

Image: Adam EdelmanAdam Edelman

Adam Edelman is a political reporter for NBC News.

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