Kaine stumps at U of M before private fundraiser

Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine posed with University of Minnesota students Tuesday during an unannounced campaign visit to the campus. Tim Pugmire|MPR News

Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine made a campaign visit to Minnesota Tuesday.

Kaine attended a private fundraiser in Minneapolis and also spent some time talking to students at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus during an unannounced stop.

It was the Virginia Senator’s first visit to the state since Clinton added him to the ticket in July. He was born in St. Paul.

After landing at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Kaine spoke briefly on the tarmac to a group of local student volunteers for the Clinton campaign.

He then headed to the U of M, where he talked to students and posed for photos.

Kaine spent time outside and inside Coffman Memorial Union, striking up conversations ranging from music to Islamophobia. He did not interact with reporters.

Ana Mendoza Packham, a sophomore from Madison, WI, was helping fellow students register to vote and got some time to talk to Kaine.

“I mean originally I think I was more on the Bernie side,” Packham said. “But I think Hillary is brilliant and I think she’s done really great work. I also think Tim Kaine is super cool.”

Student Will Dammann said he considers himself a Republican but plans to vote for Clinton and Kaine in November. Dammann told Kaine about his campaign for the school board in his home town of Annandale.

Kaine told Dammann that they’re now “sharing the ticket.”

“I’m hoping that his turnout effort will sweep Hillary and me to victory in Minnesota, and maybe we can do some stuff to help you out too,” Kaine said.

In a brief discussion of music preferences, Kaine told a group of students that he was a “massive Replacements fan.”

Other students pressed Kaine on some tough issues. Freshman Aasim Ali of Plymouth tried to get some answers about closing the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay and about addressing Islamophobia. Ali wasn;t satisfied with Kaine’s response.

“He didn’t answer the questions. He was kind of avoiding it,” Ali said.

Ali said he hasn’t decided who to vote for.

Kaine later headed to a private fundraiser, hosted by the political organization Women Winning. A flier for the event listed contribution levels ranging from $500 for advocates up to $27,000 for reception co-hosts.

Women Winning is an organization that backs candidates who support abortion rights.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was in Minneapolis last month for a private fundraiser where some attendees were accosted by protesters as they left the event.

The state director for the Trump campaign issued a statement calling on Kaine to tell Minnesotans if he agrees with Clinton’s recent description of some Trump supporters as “deplorable.”

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