MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — President Barack Obama won Minnesota Tuesday, extending the state's streak of backing Democratic presidential candidates since 1976.
Both Obama, who carried Minnesota in 2008, and Republican challenger Mitt Romney had virtually ignored Minnesota — Romney did not even have a statewide structure here — but the battle for the state's 10 electoral votes heated up late in the campaign after a late poll showed the race tightening.
Both campaigns aired TV ads in Minnesota in the race's closing days. Both also sent high-profile surrogates: Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan for Romney, and former President Bill Clinton for Obama.
The late flurry echoed recent presidential cycles, when Republicans tried to turn Minnesota into a presidential battleground. Four years ago and in the two campaigns before that, Minnesota voters were showered with attention and advertising from the candidates and their allies. Outside groups hoping for a Romney win had sprinkled some money in the state on ads criticizing Obama's leadership, and the incumbent aired a few ads of his own. But up until the last week or so, it all paled in comparison to their TV presence elsewhere.
Dawn Mattson, a 41-year-old Democratic voter from Blaine, said Obama got her vote because he overhauled health care and saved the car industry.
"He is really fighting for us, for like the lower class, middle class, and not the rich," said Mattson, an administrative assistant.
But Kevin Gensch, a 34-year-old human resources manager who lives in St. Louis Park, said he voted for Romney after voting for Obama four years ago.