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Trump Heads To ‘Winnable’ Blue State For Big Rally After Barron’s Graduation

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Former President Donald Trump was permitted to attend son Barron’s graduation Friday morning rather than remain in a Manhattan courtroom for his ‘hush money’ trial, and he made the most of his day.

After watching his son walk for graduation in Florida, Trump headed to Minnesota, a blue state he nearly won in 2016 and could very well win in 2024, according to polling data.

Trump headlined the state GOP’s annual Lincoln Reagan dinner, aligning with the party’s state convention. Although no Republican presidential candidate has won Minnesota since Richard Nixon in 1972, Trump nearly flipped the state in 2016, falling just 1.5 percentage points behind Democrat Hillary Clinton. Despite several campaign visits in 2020, Joe Biden defeated him by over 7 percentage points.

“I think this is something Trump wants to do. He believes this is a state he can win. We believe that’s the case as well,” David Hann, the chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota, said in an interview, the Washington Examiner reported.

The outlet added: “Trump’s youngest son, Barron Trump, graduated from the private Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach, Florida. The former president had long complained Judge Juan M. Merchan would not let him attend the graduation before Merchan agreed not to hold court Friday.”

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Hann co-hosted Friday’s dinner alongside Trump’s state campaign chairman, House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, who represents a central Minnesota district. Hann credits Emmer with playing a key role in bringing the former president to Minnesota.

The dinner coincided with the party’s state convention. Ticket prices started at $500 and went up to $100,000 for a VIP table for 10, which included three photo opportunities with Trump. While Hann did not disclose an expected fundraising total, he said he anticipated a full house of approximately 1,400 attendees.

Nearly all the money raised will go to the state party, though Hann said some of the money from the photo ops with Trump will go to his campaign.

Experts are divided on whether Minnesota will truly be competitive in the upcoming election, given its historical voting patterns and the strong Democratic Party organization within the state. However, Hann pointed out significant dissatisfaction with Biden there, noting that nearly 19 percent of Democratic voters in Minnesota’s Super Tuesday primary chose “uncommitted.” The significant percentage is attributed, at least in part, to a protest-vote movement sparked by dissatisfaction with Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas conflict, a sentiment that has echoed across several states.

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In an interview aired Wednesday by KSTP-TV of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Trump said his speech would focus on economic issues.

“We think we have a really good shot at Minnesota,” Trump told KSTP. “We have great friendships up there. We’ve done a lot for industry. We’ve done a lot for everything in Minnesota. Worked hard on Minnesota. Tom Emmer is very much involved.”

Trump and his campaign have said they will be making a play for traditional blue states this election cycle, claims which were bolstered after a stunning turnout of supporters in deep-blue New Jersey for a rally last week. Trump drew nearly 100,000 supporters in Wildwood, a popular vacation spot for residents of Philadelphia and Delaware County, Pennsylvania.

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Many supporters were seen queuing up hours before Trump’s arrival for the rally, which occurred close to the Wildwood boardwalk.

Trump had previously hinted at holding rallies in New Jersey. Despite being traditionally considered a solid blue state, New Jersey witnessed one of the most surprisingly close gubernatorial election races in 2021. Democrat incumbent Phil Murphy narrowly defeated Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli by less than three percentage points. That outcome was unexpected, especially since most pollsters projected a Democratic advantage of around ten points (D+10), providing Republicans with a renewed sense of optimism.

Breitbart News reported in April that a poll found Trump within single digits of Biden in New Jersey. Biden received 46 percent while Trump got 39 percent, a 7-point lead for the president in a state he won in 2020 by 16 points.

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