The Trump campaign organized a large airport rally in Bemidji, while Biden met with a handful of labor leaders at the Jerry Alander Carpenter Training Center in Hermantown.
Trump, who narrowly lost the state in 2016, stressed his signature policies of deregulation and reduced government intervention in the free market.
“We’re going to win Minnesota because they did nothing for Minnesota except close up that beautiful iron ore territory. They closed it with a pen. Do you remember that? I came along and I opened it up,” Trump said, referring to the Iron Range, the main iron ore mining district in the United States. The president was likely referring to the Obama administration’s 2016 decision to block two copper-mining leases in Minnesota, which Trump later reversed. In May 2019, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) renewed the leases.
“Under President Trump’s leadership and direction from the secretary, this action may reduce the vulnerability to disruption of critical mineral supplies if it leads to the development and production of critical minerals in an environmentally responsible, regulatory-consistent, and economically feasible manner,” Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, Joe Balash, said at the time. “Mining strategic metals in the United States is beneficial to national security, national and local economies, and job creation.”
Biden, who in a Labor Day speech vowed to be “the strongest labor president we’ve ever had,” toured a union training center, where he highlighted his plan to promote American-made goods by the sweeping use of the federal government’s regulatory and spending power.
“This is the stuff that’s going to put a lot of people to work,” Biden said as he talked to carpenters and witnessed a welding demonstration.
“It has to be made in the United States of America,” he said, and discussed his proposal to mandate that federal procurement include a higher proportion of goods that are made in America. Biden’s plan proposes new uses of the federal government’s regulatory and spending power to bolster U.S. manufacturing and technology firms, calling for a $400 billion, 4-year increase in government buying of U.S.-based goods and services, plus $300 billion in new research and development in U.S. technology concerns.
“When the government spends taxpayers’ money, we should spend that money to buy American products made by American workers and American supply chains to generate American growth,” Biden said.
Before Biden arrived in Minnesota, the Trump campaign released a letter from three Iron Range mayors hailing the president’s support for mining: “As a result of the Trump administration’s policies, our communities were given a much needed shot in the arm so that our towns can roar back to life—and there is no one we Rangers trust to bring about the great American comeback more than President Donald Trump.” The letter was signed by Mayors Chris Vreeland of Hoyt Lakes, Kathy Brandau of Winton and Tony Nygaard of McKinley.
A recent Epoch Times poll found that most respondents in Rust Belt states, which includes Minnesota, said they are better off now than 4 years ago: 31.9 percent said they are better off than four years ago, 23.9 percent said the same, 26.4 percent said they were not better off, and 17.7 percent said they were better off before the pandemic.
After Biden’s speech, his motorcade rolled into downtown Duluth, where he stepped out onto a brick plaza and began to elbow bump and chat with passersby.
Within minutes, a crowd of around 200 gathered, virtually all of them in masks except for two men in Trump hats. It was the largest in-person crowd Biden has had since the pandemic exploded in March.
One man yelled from a deck above the plaza, “Go home, Joe!”
Two women closer to Biden responded, “You are home, Joe.”
The Epoch Times Rust Belt Poll was conducted by Big Data Poll from Sept. 11 to Sept. 15, 2020, interviewing 2,191 registered voters and 1,440 likely voters in the Midwest via online panel targeting Iowa (7 percent), Michigan (20 percent), Minnesota (12 percent), Ohio (23 percent), Pennsylvania (26 percent), and Wisconsin (12 percent). The sampling error is ± 2.1 percent for registered voters and ± 2.6 percent for likely voters at a 95 percent confidence interval. For more information on the methodology and survey design, please refer to the AAPOR Transparency Initiative Checklist. For an overview of survey results click here.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.