ST. PAUL — Minnesota's Republican delegation this week will travel to Sioux Falls, S.D., to watch President Donald Trump's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention
Republican Party leaders in North Dakota and South Dakota, including South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, have also volunteered to help GOP candidates in the neighboring North Star state, committing party volunteers and elected officials to come stump for Minnesota candidates up and down the ballot, Minnesota Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan told reporters on Tuesday, Aug. 25.
Minnesota Republicans and others this week are set to make cameo appearances at the Republican National Convention and participate in local events to watch the Republican National Convention, but Carnahan said some of the state's delegates asked not to be named out of fear of retribution.
The GOP delegation is set to make the trek to Sioux Falls to join South Dakota Republicans in celebrating the president's nomination on Thursday evening, Aug. 27.
“We thought it would be fun to try to do something different and involve both of our delegations," Carnahan said, also noting the lax COVID-19 response measures in South Dakota. "They’re a very red state so any support that their elected leaders can offer to our candidates and our elected leaders as we continue to forge forward is positive.”
Trump has committed to snapping Minnesota's longest-in-the-nation streak of supporting Democratic candidates for president. Trump lost the state by 1.5 percentage points in 2016 to Hillary Clinton.
Carnahan said the Trump campaign has made contacts with 2 million Minnesota voters so far, taken on months of voter registration efforts and recruited volunteers to the campaign. The broad campaign infrastructure and spending capacity, along with available support from other Republican state parties could make the state a toss-up come November.
"I think there is no question that Minnesota is probably the top flip opportunity in the entire country in terms of the electoral map," she said. "It's just very encouraging to have people from all over the country coming up to us and saying how important our state is."
Democrats have doubled down their campaigning efforts in Minnesota, as well, logging hundreds of thousands of virtual meetings, calls and text message exchanges with voters. Coming out of last week's Democratic National Convention, they said they were confident the Democratic message would offer a stark contrast to those being publicized by Republicans this week.
"It's worrying that Minnesota Republicans are traveling to an area where COVID-19 cases are increasing, especially given their total lack of concern for the health and well-being of their neighbors during this pandemic," Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Chairman Ken Martin said, also noting the lack of a federal response to the pandemic. "Given Donald Trump's complete and utter failure to protect the American people, it's no wonder his Minnesota campaign is desperate for back up."
Martin said Minnesota voters would support former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris in November as they have committed to listening to scientists and public health experts.
Eveleth Mayor Robert Vlaislavljevich and Cris Peterson, chief financial officer of a Wisconsin dairy farm, on Tuesday night are set to address the national convention. Vice President Mike Pence on Friday is set to visit Duluth to stump for Trump's reelection.