It was the final stretch of a contentious presidential campaign when two major-party nominees traveled to northern Minnesota to make their case about how they’d protect union jobs, revive the economy and make health care more affordable.
No, this wasn’t Friday, when both Donald Trump and Joe Biden visited Bemidji and Duluth, respectively, on the same day to mark the start of early voting in the state.
It was Oct. 29, 2004, and the candidates were Republican Vice President Dick Cheney and Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards.
Their swing through the state was part of an onslaught of visits that year from all of the candidates, including President George W. Bush and Democratic challenger John Kerry. It’s the last time DFL Party Chair Ken Martin remembers Minnesota being considered a state in play, much as it is now.
It was a different time, Martin said: “It was on the heels of the 2002 Iraq war vote and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Americans were worried about foreign policy.”
But the messages to voters were similar.
Edwards told college students in Duluth that Kerry would make health care more affordable and rebuild the nation’s reputation in the world. Cheney, at a junior high gymnasium in International Falls, said Bush would create jobs and protect gun owners’ Second Amendment rights.