Minnesota's major political parties met in a rare moment of comity at a morning news conference Wednesday, encouraging voters come to the caucuses Tuesday, March 1.

Ken Martin and Keith Downey, the DFL and Republican state party chairs, respectively, said they expect a big turnout that could rival the record showing of 2008, when about 220,000 Minnesotans turned out for the DFL caucuses and about 65,000 on the Republican side. 

Voters on both sides will gather Tuesday evening at more than 4,000 precincts at the party-run events, where they will vote in a presidential straw poll. Both parties will then apportion delegates to their national conventions based on results of that presidential straw poll. The caucus will also elect delegates to district-level conventions and pass resolutions. 

Martin and Downey both said they wanted to assure voters the process will be accessible, fair and transparent. They've each recruited 10,000 volunteers to help run the caucuses. 

The March 1 results could be pivotal on both sides, as Minnesota joins a batch of other, mostly southern states to award delegates. Donald Trump is riding a wave of momentum on the Republican side, having easily won the Nevada caucuses Tuesday, while Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz continue to challenge him. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders remain locked in a tight contest on the Democratic side. 

  

 

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