Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., said Monday that Minnesota, which conducts its political caucuses Tuesday, is fertile ground for his presidential campaign.
In a political contest that's been dubbed "Super Tuesday," Democrats in 10 states will pledge half the number of convention delegates that are needed to win the nomination.
"In northern Minnesota the issue of jobs and job loss is a powerful issue," the candidate said in a telephone news conference shortly after getting off a plane in Dayton, Ohio.
He said a "huge" number of former supporters of Vermont Gov. Howard Dean in Minnesota made him optimistic of his chances in the state. He identified Georgia, Ohio and Minnesota as states where he saw growing support for his presidential bid.
Responding to a question, Edwards said he did not necessarily need a win in one of those states in order for his challenge to front-runner Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., to continue.
"If they want to see real change in this country, that change is going to have to come from the ground," Edwards said. "I'm someone who knows the country has to change and Washington has to change."
Edwards said he's beating President George W. Bush in national polls and is much stronger than Kerry among independents and possible crossover voters.
"I think I'm clearly the more electable candidate," he said.
Bill Burton, communications director for Kerry's Minnesota campaign, said Monday the facts don't support Kerry's electability claim. He cited polls that show Kerry has beaten Edwards among independents in most primaries and caucuses.
"I would just say the reason Kerry has already won 18 of 20 primaries is because he has the strongest positions on jobs, education and health care," he said.
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