MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Crunch time in the DFL Senate primary led the four leading contenders to bus stops, cafes, college classrooms and over hundreds of miles of country road Monday, each hoping to reach undecided voters on the election's eve.
Trial attorney Mike Ciresi, former state Auditor Mark Dayton, state Sen. Jerry Janezich and construction executive Rebecca Yanisch all started at sunrise and planned to be on the trail into the night.
Dayton, the front-runner in several recent polls, wasn't wearing the favorite status on his sleeve as he campaigned in downtown Minneapolis.
Dayton described his mood as apprehensive as he extended hand after hand to the bustling lunch crowd that passed by the corner across from the Dayton's department store that helped build his family fortune.
"The only poll that counts is the one tomorrow," he said over the roar of bus traffic. "Except for the two or three people who told me at the State Fair they voted absentee for me, I don't have any votes right now."
But several passers-by confided to Dayton that he was their choice.
John Ralmatier, of St. Louis Park, said he and his wife settled on Dayton over the weekend. It was a tough choice for Ralmatier, who supported Dayton's Republican challenger the first time he ran for U.S. Senate in 1982.
"All four could take on Rod Grams," he said. "Of the four, he can go on and win."
Yanisch was upbeat and confident she could make up ground to overcome her fourth-place showing in two polls. She said she was counting on people who have never or rarely voted in the primary.
That brought Yanisch to Minneapolis Community and Technical College, where she spent half an hour conveying to a women's study class her hard-luck tale of being a single mother without insurance.
As she has throughout the campaign, Yanisch said she brings a unique perspective to the Senate, which now has only nine women.
"Your vote counts," she said. "I'm asking you not only to get out and make that vote, tell your friends, tell your family, tell strangers on the street that this is an opportunity to make a change for Minnesota."
Later, Yanisch breezed through a popular downtown restaurant, and she was to greet bus riders as they left work in the evening. After stepping away from campaigning to attend a funeral, Dayton planned to serve dinner at a homeless shelter.
While Dayton and Yanisch focused their efforts on the Twin Cities, Ciresi and Janezich were on the road in greater Minnesota.
Ciresi started the day in St. Cloud before heading north to Brainerd and the Iron Range. His day was to conclude with a Monday Night Football party in Duluth.
Janezich opened the day chatting with customers at a Detroit Lakes coffee shop and made similar stops as his entourage headed east toward Hibbing. At the Servicemen's Club in Virginia, Janezich told supporters that despite being down in the polls, the Chisholm bar owner has a chance.
"It can still happen," Janezich said.
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