U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen and his Democratic opponent, state Sen. Terri Bonoff, had last-minute outside help from two members of Congress who stumped for their respective candidates at dueling campaign events Wednesday.
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan led an evening rally for Paulsen in Plymouth. Hours earlier U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, a Democrat from Washington state, campaigned for Bonoff 2 miles away at the site of a training program run by Buhler Group, an engineering firm specializing in food production.
Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican and 2012 vice-presidential nominee, told a large crowd of supporters that in politics, “there are show horses and there are workhorses.”
“Show horses want the credit, want to go on TV. Workhorses are the people of conviction, of principle, who roll up their sleeves, who work hard day in and day out and who don’t care who gets the credit as long as the job is done,” Ryan said. “Erik Paulsen is the workhorse of all workhorses.”
Ryan in recent weeks has focused on holding his majority in the U.S. House and has stopped campaigning for GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump in the wake of a published video on which the candidate is heard bragging about groping and kissing women. Ryan, however, said Tuesday that he has cast his vote for Trump, following through on his promise to support his party’s nominee for president.
Paulsen, the four-term congressman, urged his supporters and volunteers to ensure they get out the vote to keep Republicans in the majority. “We are going to win this race in six days and beat Terri Bonoff,” Paulsen said to loud cheers.
The two candidates are locked in a competitive race and are only days away from learning whom voters will elect to represent the Third Congressional District’s western Twin Cities suburbs that include Maple Grove, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka and Bloomington.
Bonoff has raised money aggressively since May when the legislative session ended. She has raised more than $1.6 million during the current election cycle and has about $215,000 cash on hand, according to the latest campaign-finance disclosures compiled by ProPublica. Paulsen, who sits on the powerful House and Ways Committee, has eclipsed Bonoff’s fundraising totals. Paulsen has $1.6 million cash on hand and has raised more than $4.5 million for his race.
Bonoff on Wednesday stood with Heck and several business and community leaders to attack Paulsen’s record on abortion rights, same-sex marriage, climate change and gun control. She denounced what she said were misleading attacks on her own record by Paulsen and outside Republican groups.
Heck, the two-term congressman, said business-minded Democrats like Bonoff who can set aside partisan politics should serve in Congress. “As a businessperson I know that Terri, like I, appreciate that you can’t be ideological on a day-to-day basis,” Heck said. “If you want to succeed in business, you have to be pragmatic. You can’t drive the ideological car into the ditch.”
Bonoff blamed Paulsen for contributing to the political gridlock in Washington. “We owe it to the American public to show them that that’s not Congress. We are not obstructionists,” Bonoff said, adding: “It’s not divisive to say that the next generation of women want to uphold Roe vs. Wade. It’s not divisive to say we are going to address climate change.”