Democrats push hard in final primary showdown

3:23 AM, Aug 10, 2010   |    comments
  • Margaret Kelliher rallies troops in Minneapolis
  • Mark Dayton visits Duluth nursing care center
  • Matt Entenza greets volunteers in Duluth
  • Senator Amy Klobuchar hugs Margaret Kelliher at rally
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The three top Democrats vying to become their party's nominee for governor criss crossed Minnesota Monday in an election eve campaign blitz.

Rep. Margaret Anderson Kelliher, the DFL party's endorsed candidate, wrapped up her day with a rally at the Communication Workers of America union hall in southeast Minneapolis.  The event drew a boisterous crowd of volunteers, plus US Senator Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken.

"How did Paul Wellstone say you win elections?" Kelliher asked the energized group, "It's person by person! It's door by door!"

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In the imagery battle, the gathering gave the Kelliher campaign one last chance to punctuate the ongoing theme that people power will help bridge the money gap.   The event, dubbed "midnight madness," was timed to coincide with 10 p.m. TV newscasts.

Rivals Mark Dayton and Matt Entenza also barnstormed Monday, before settling into their respective campaign headquarters in Saint Paul to thank volunteers who worked phone banks well into the night.

"We have a terrific ground game going here too," Dayton told KARE, "We have friends all over the state, so I'm hopeful. But I never pre-judge the wisdom of the people of Minnesota until they speak their minds on Election Day."

Dayton spent part of his day speaking to aging voters at a nursing home in Duluth.   Political analyst David Schultz, of Hamline University, told KARE the senior vote may have a magnified impact in a primary election where lower turnout has been projected.

"Dayton has that high name recognition, espcially amongst the elderly," Schultz said, "And the elderly vote in very high percentages."

Dayton's name recognition hails in part from his family's department store chain, which became Target's parent company. Voters also elected him state auditor in 1990 and sent him to the U.S Senate in 2000.

In the meantime, former state representative Matt Entenza campaigned hard on the eve of the primary.  He stressed his small town upbringing at campaign stops across the state.

"I grew up in rural Minnesota," he told a group in Duluth, "I don't want to see any more rural communities shrinking, particularly because our governors have not put the effort into helping rural communities do well." 

All three Democrats have done well in polls in head-to-head match-ups with the presumptive Republican nominee, Rep. Tom Emmer.  However, Entenza has polled lower than Dayton and Kelliher.

He has remained optimistic about his odds, saying that the methodology used by the pollsters don't reflect the types of voters expected to take part in the state's first-ever August primary.

(Copyright 2010 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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