Presidential race heats up in Minnesota

Bryna Godar

In the final week before the election, Minnesota is drawing new interest from the presidential race between President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, with both campaigns now running TV ads and lining up last-minute visits.

Former President Bill Clinton is campaigning in Minnesota Tuesday for the Obama campaign and the Associated Press reported that Romney's campaign is "seriously discussing" sending Romney or running candidate Paul Ryan to Minnesota this week, according to a senior Republican official.

Minnesota is generally considered to lean Democratic when it comes to the presidential election, and it has not favored a Republican presidential candidate since 1972.

For months, polls have shown Obama with large leads over Romney in the state, but a recent Star Tribune poll reported Obama with a narrow, three-point lead. In early October, Public Policy Polling reported Obama with a 10-point lead in Minnesota.

The Star Tribune reported that key Obama staffers said Romney's momentum in Minnesota is "pretend."

"The Romney campaign wants you to think it’s expanding the map but it’s not," said Jim Messina, President Barack Obama's campaign manager, in the Star Tribune post. "Romney is pretending he’s got a shot in state’s like in Pennsylvania and Minnesota. We expect the Romney campaign to visit an out of play state this week to pretend like they have some momentum there."

The Star Tribune also quoted an email to reporters from Ryan Mahoney, Regional Press Secretary for the Republican National Committee: "No matter how you slice it, President Obama’s map is shrinking while Governor Romney’s momentum and plan for a real economic recovery is forcing the president’s campaign to spend critical campaign cash to defend states they once thought were safe."