RNC chair: Minnesota will be in play in November

RNC Chairman Mike Duncan
RNC Chairman Robert "Mike" Duncan spoke in Minneapolis Wednesday morning to a group of conservatives called the Minnesota Rough Riders.
MPR photo/Tom Weber

The head of the Republican National Committee insists Minnesota's electoral votes will be up for grabs in the November presidential election.

Robert "Mike" Duncan says he's not bothered by a recent Star-Tribune poll that showed both leading Democrats -- Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton -- with leads in Minnesota over Republican John McCain.

The poll said Obama had a 51-38 percent lead over McCain, and Clinton had a 49-40 percent edge.

Duncan says one key reason to dismiss the poll is because McCain hasn't campaigned in the state.

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"Minnesota's important, Iowa's important, Wisconsin -- this whole area of the country is part of our whole electoral process that we're interested in," Duncan said, after an event at the Minneapolis Club in downtown Minneapolis.

"And he's going to have a platform at the convention to sprint those final 60 days to the election. So, here's where the fall campaign's kicked off."

Duncan says McCain will hold a fundraiser in Minnesota soon, but he also concedes Republicans will be outspent this year.

Still, Duncan says McCain and the RNC have more cash on hand right now than either Democratic candidate and the Democratic National Committee.

The Republican National Convention will be held in St. Paul in early September.

Democrat John Kerry won Minnesota in 2004, but only by about 100,000 votes out of more than 2.8 million cast.