Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kurt Bills is embarking on a statewide campaign tour over the next month to build enthusiasm for his campaign and highlight what he sees as his opponent’s failings.

“Minnesotans are hungering for real discussion of the issues facing our country,” said Mike Osskopp, Bills’ campaign manager. Since Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar was elected, “unemployment has doubled, gas prices have doubled, and the national debt has doubled.”

Bills plans to visit 87 counties over the next 36 days. Osskopp said the media, business leaders and unions have abandoned Bills campaign, so they are taking their message “directly to the people.”

On Monday, Bills will visit Crow Wing and Itasca counties, starting with a rally at the Gander Mountain in Baxter. At the end of the day, he will greet voters in Grand Rapids.

“The media elite, the corporate elite, and the union elite have united behind Klobuchar,” Osskopp said. “Average people are hurting in the economy, and Klobuchar has voted for the policies that have created the mess we are in. The least that we can do is have a real conversation about the issues.”

A recent Star Tribune Minnesota Poll shows Klobuchar with a commanding lead over Bills, a public school teacher and state legislator.

“The media have the megaphone, but we have the ideas,” Osskopp said. “Kurt will go to every county in Minnesota to take his message to the people.”