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Biden will speak during campaign rally at UMD on Friday

Vice President Joe Biden. (2016 file / Reuters) 1 / 2
Vice President Joe Biden clasps hands with Mary and Rick Nolan at the end of a 2014 rally in Hibbing. (2014 file / News Tribune) 2 / 2

It’s official. Vice President Joe Biden will campaign in Duluth on Friday in support of the Democratic ticket.

Biden will appear at Romano Gymnasium on the University of Minnesota Duluth campus, according to a news release from Rep. Rick Nolan’s campaign office.

Nolan, who is vying for re-election against Republican challenger Stewart Mills in Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District, will deliver remarks before introducing the vice president. Doors will open to the public at 10 a.m. It’s not yet known what time Biden will make his address.

Biden’s visit was first reported Tuesday, when sources within the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party revealed the visit.

Biden will appear in support of Nolan and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Nolan is in a close race with Mills that has garnered more than $11 million in independent campaign contributions, fueling a flurry of television ads and mailers.

UMD Police Chief Sean Huls said his force has been working with the U.S. Secret Service and other local law enforcement agencies in recent days to prepare for Biden’s visit.

He noted that campus activities won't be significantly impacted, as students are on fall break. The campus will be open, but Huls said visitors should expect a heavy law enforcement presence and some street and parking lot closures.

"I can't comment on the number of officers we'll have or specific security plans, but we're heavily in the planning process," he said. "Those efforts are continuing, because it does take a lot of planning and preparation."

Huls noted that the campus is no stranger to political visitors. It has hosted numerous high-profile figures in recent years, including Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont last month and former President Bill Clinton in 2012.

"It's something we're accustomed to," Huls said, "but each visit has its own unique challenges. So we're just collaborating with our partners to make it a good, safe event."

Biden has made numerous campaign stops nationwide in recent weeks and has been highly critical of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, often saying Trump “doesn’t get it.”

Biden’s most recent visit to the Northland was in October 2014, just ahead of the election. He made stops in Duluth and Hibbing to speak about the success of the "Duluth Model" in addressing domestic violence and to campaign for Nolan during his first challenge from Mills.

Biden also visited the Twin Ports in November 2012, speaking at Superior Middle School just days before the presidential election.

News Tribune reporters Brady Slater and Tom Olsen contributed to this report.
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