Vice President Mike Pence will return to Minnesota on Monday as President Donald Trump’s campaign bolsters its advertising on state airwaves after pulling back in recent weeks.
Pence is scheduled to hold a rally at the regional airport in Hibbing, the Trump campaign announced Friday.
Meanwhile, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said in a conference call that Trump’s new ad buys would be “heavy” with 11 days until Election Day.
“You won’t be able to turn on a TV without seeing a Trump ad,” Stepien said.
Just weeks ago, the campaign pulled millions of dollars in TV ads from Minnesota, with Democrat Joe Biden holding onto a consistent lead in polls here. A Star Tribune Minnesota Poll in late September found Biden at 48% to 42% for Trump; a more recent poll for KSTP-TV found the same results.
The Biden campaign dedicated an initial $3 million for ads in Minnesota, which has stayed steady as the campaign enters its final phase.
The universe of persuadable voters is shrinking quickly: By Friday, according to the Minnesota Secretary of State, nearly 1.2 million people had voted early in the state. That’s more than twice the number of people who voted early by this time four years ago.
Still, both campaigns continue to try to get out the vote. On Saturday, Gov. Tim Walz is making a campaign swing for Biden in southern Minnesota.
Pence’s scheduled visit on Monday is the Trump campaign’s latest foray into northern Minnesota, which has been the focus of previous visits by both Trump and Pence as the GOP works to turn out support in a region that’s grown increasingly conservative in statewide races.
Biden also swung through Minnesota with a stop in Duluth last month, the same day that Trump campaigned in Bemidji.
While Minnesota has not supported a Republican for president since 1972, Trump’s unexpectedly strong finish here in 2016 — he came within about 44,000 votes of winning — has stoked Republican hopes of an upset. Flipping the state would also be pivotal to Trump’s nationwide chances, as Biden holds onto leads in both national polls and surveys of battleground states.
“We expect this race to be close, and no one should take their foot off the gas here,” DFL Chairman Ken Martin said Friday.