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Daudt predicts rural Trump bump for House GOP

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Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt is predicting that Donald Trump’s presidential bid could be helpful to Republican legislative candidates this fall in the state’s rural districts.

Daudt, R-Zimmerman, speculated on Trump’s potential down ballot impact Thursday during an interview on Fargo radio station KFGO. He said Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, is “incredibly unpopular” in rural Minnesota districts, many of which are currently held by Republicans.

“With the seats that we’re defending, we think Donald Trump actually helps us on the ballot to retain our majority,” Daudt said.

Daudt said he thinks Trump has “more room to grow” than Clinton in Minnesota, in terms of popularity.  But Daudt also acknowledged that Clinton is already popular in suburban districts.

“It could be a double-edged sword,” he said.

Daudt said he thinks Trump needs to stay disciplined and “connect” with Minnesota voters as the campaign moves forward.

Daudt, who is a GOP national convention delegate, has not explicitly endorsed Trump other than to say he will vote Republican in November.

Democrats were quick to criticize the Republican House Speaker's comments.

DFL Chairman Ken Martin said in news release that he was “astounded” by the acceptance and support of Trump, who he contends is running a campaign “built on bigotry and discrimination.”

“It’s time for Speaker Daudt and Minnesota’s Republicans to stop blindly following Donald Trump’s divisive lead and prioritize the needs of Minnesotans they are running to represent,” Martin said.