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‘We are going to make history’

Republicans rally in Albert Lea as part of tour across southern Minnesota 

With less than two months to go until the general election, Republican Party candidates and state party leaders traveled across southern Minnesota this week to rally area Republicans together for the upcoming election. 

Minnesota Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan said she and others made stops in Winona, Preston and Rochester on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, they were in Mantorville, Albert Lea and Austin. On Thursday they planned to stop in Waseca, New Ulm and LeSueur County. 

“We feel very encouraged about our opportunities as Republicans in Minnesota this year,” Carnahan said during the stop in Albert Lea at the Freeborn County Republican Party headquarters. “This is the year we believe we are going to make history and deliver our 10 electoral votes to President Trump on Nov. 3.”

Carnahan said through her time around the state, she has seen people who were once timid about voicing their support for Trump become more vocal about their support, particularly in southern Minnesota. 

“We’re seeing that sort of silent veil be lifted and people are now very proud to say, whether it’s through signs or showing up at events like this… to champion their support of the president and all of our other Republicans,” she said. 

She said she thinks on the contrary there is a “significant enthusiasm gap” around Joe Biden’s candidacy for president for the Democratic Party. 

The Trump campaign is focusing heavily on Minnesota this year after Trump came less than 45,000 votes short of winning the election in the state in 2016. That year, Carnahan said there was little investment in the state by Trump’s campaign with only one paid campaign staffer on the ground. This time around, the Trump campaign assigned its first paid staff to Minnesota in June 2019 and now has over 60 full-time paid staff in Minnesota and is approaching 3 million direct voter contacts. Staff and volunteers have registered thousands of people to vote across the state. 

“We’re truly building what we call a Minnesota army to make sure that every last voter comes out to vote for this election,” she said. 

She noted the philosophy as a party is “no district left behind.”

“I don’t care if it’s a red district where we win 75% of the vote every time,” she said. “I don’t care if it’s a blue district where we barely even get 18% of the vote. We’re not leaving any Republican candidate behind this cycle.”

U.S. House Rep. Jim Hagedorn thanked those in attendance for their enthusiasm and described Freeborn County as one of the best counties in southern Minnesota for Republicans.

Hagedorn criticized the COVID-19 response from DFL Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, who he said misused his executive powers. That, combined with Walz’s response in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, have led a lot of people to not like what’s going on with the Democratic Party. 

He described his DFL opponent Dan Feehan as far-left and liberal and who he said was hand-picked by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to run for the seat.

Hagedorn emphasized his own conservative views and said he supports the president and the Republican Party’s policies, including rebuilding the defense department and securing the county’s borders. Eight months ago, Hagedorn said the country had the strongest economy in the nation’s history with the lowest unemployment. But then the coronavirus hit and the economy was put on pause. 

He said in the months since the country has rebounded steadily because of Republican principles that were in play. 

“We will get back to that,” he said. “We are already rebuilding. We have the quarterback that showed us the blueprint and we have the troops in place to keep pushing that forward, and our economy will continue to come back strong as long as we don’t let the Democrats get in.”

He said he is unapologetically pro-life and said he believes life begins at conception and it is the government’s job to step in to provide assistance when needed for people such as the disabled and those with special needs. 

He also said he supports a Stand Your Ground law and encouraged legislators to look into passing that in Minnesota. 

“There couldn’t be a clearer contrast between the parties, a clearer contrast between my left-wing opponent and me as a conservative,” he said. 

District 27A Rep. Peggy Bennett said more than ever people have to stand for truth, for Constitutional rights and for what is right in the election. 

She talked about Walz calling another special session to renew his emergency powers for another 30 days — even though she said the COVID-19 emergency is far from over and the state is more in a management stage now. 

Bennett said one of the reasons Walz wants to do this is to spend down the state’s reserves, even though the state is facing a $6 billion deficit next year. 

“Instead of starting to tighten our belts right now … he wants to spend that down and then let’s deal with it next year whatever happens,” she said, calling it fiscally irresponsible. 

Representatives from the Trump campaign also briefly spoke, in addition to Albert Lea school board candidate Angie Hoffman, who is the county Republican Party treasurer, and Brad Edwin, the chairman, who is running for Freeborn County commissioner.