Minnesota considered a battleground state in presidential election | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Minnesota considered a battleground state in presidential election

Posted: May 23, 2012 - 4:52pm

Minnesota is one of 13 states considered as a key battleground state in the November presidential election, according to BBC News. Also considered part of the battleground 13 are: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Why Minnesota with its 10 electoral college votes? Long considered a Democrat Party stronghold, the Gopher state narrowly swung to the Democrats in 2000 by 2.4 percent; 3.5 percent in the 2004 election; and a wider margin of 10.2 percent in the 2008 presidential election.

Jobs and a sluggish economy will be key issues for Minnesota voters as they are expected to be in the rest of the country. With the announced layoffs of 850 General Mills employees and 1,000 at Medtronics on Wednesday, the state will be primed for the candidate willing to put their neck on the line with a plan to create jobs. Of the job cuts planned, 425 will be slashed at General Mills’ Minnesota operations and 250 Twin Cities jobs at Medtronics.

Prior to the announced job cuts, the state’s unemployment rate was sitting at 5.6 percent, considerably less than the nation’s 8.1 percent unemployed workers. However, the state’s poverty rate sits at nearly double the unemployment rate at 10.6 percent.

It’s unlikely that the Republican nominee will be able wrestle this state away from the Democratic incumbent president, but it will be interesting to watch the final votes tallied on election eve.

—Keith Hansen