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Why Minnesota is getting so much attention this presidential election

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota's calendar has been filling up with big-name visits.

Since March, President Donald Trump has visited the state twice, Vice President Mike Pence has visited four times, former Vice President and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has stopped once, and Democratic vice presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris held a Minnesota-specific virtual visit

The President's stop in Duluth this Wednesday will be his third visit since March and the second in two weeks. 

"[Minnesota] is a battleground state. It's not necessarily a swing state yet," said David Schultz, professor of political science at Hamline University, "It's clearly a state that both sides think they can win."

When Minnesota last swung Republican in a presidential election it was in 1972 for Richard Nixon. But Trump came close in 2016.

And while a new KARE 11/MPR News/Star Tribune Minnesota Poll found Biden with a six-point lead over Trump in Minnesota, that changes when you look at greater Minnesota. The poll found Trump winning in southern and northern Minnesota with 53% and 54% respectively, compared to 36% for Biden in both.

The shift in rural areas of the state could put Minnesota in play. 

"The election comes down to seven states. Minnesota is one of them," said Schultz.

Schultz says almost every calculation for Biden winning the presidency assumes he will win Minnesota and pick up the state's ten electoral votes. 

"If the Democrats don't hold Minnesota, they're going to have to pick up a state like Arizona or Florida to be able to compensate," Schultz said. "Though not impossible, those are hard states for the Democrats to win."

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