President Donald Trump will hold a rally in Duluth next week, his re-election campaign announced Monday.
The event is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 20, at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center Arena, according to a news release. Doors will open at 3:30 p.m.
Trump, who campaigned in Superior in April 2016, will be the first sitting president to visit the Northland since George W. Bush rallied at the DECC in 2004.
In announcing the stop, Michael S. Glassner, executive director of Trump’s 2020 re-election bid, promised “another high-energy Trump rally” - a hallmark of his successful 2016 campaign.
“The president will meet with Minnesota patriots to report the latest developments for our surging economy, including record-low unemployment and fair trade reforms, and his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un,” Glassner said in a statement.
Minnesota DFL chairman Ken Martin was less enthused.
“While President Trump is busy throwing a rally for himself and pushing the same old bill of goods and empty promises of returning jobs to the 8th District,” he said, “the DFL will be doing what it does best: organizing.”
Trump has continued to hold occasional rallies since taking office in January 2017. He started his re-election bid historically early, filing papers with the Federal Election Commission on the day of his inauguration and formally launching his 2020 campaign in February 2018.
In visiting Duluth, the Republican will be wooing voters in the largest - but also most liberal - city in the 8th Congressional District, which in recent years has produced some of the closest and most-expensive races in the country.
Trump in 2016 suffered a 1.5 percentage-point loss to Democrat Hillary Clinton in Minnesota, falling just shy of becoming the first Republican to win the state since Richard Nixon in 1972. He did, however, take the 8th District by a margin of 54 to 38 over Clinton.
The Duluth rally figures to serve as a springboard for Pete Stauber, the Republican-endorsed candidate in the 8th, though Trump’s campaign did not specifically mention him by name.
Stauber has been a vocal supporter of Trump, and helped introduce now-Vice President Mike Pence when he campaigned in Duluth a day ahead of the 2016 election.
“We are very excited that the president has decided to make Duluth one of his campaign stops,” Stauber spokesman Caroline Tarwid said in an email to the News Tribune. “The president won the 8th District by almost 16 points and is as popular - if not more popular - now than on Election Day. This event just reaffirms how important this open seat is both to our district and Republicans nationally, and we are excited to be hosting the president in the 8th District next week.”
It is a heavy election year for Minnesota, with the governorship and both U.S. Senate seats among the races on the fall ballot. Democrats currently hold all offices elected at the statewide level.
State GOP chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan welcomed the news of Trump’s visit.
“The importance of Minnesota this election cycle - in influencing the balance of power in Washington D.C. for the next two years - and ensuring we send the president conservative reinforcements depends on our ability to ‘Make Minnesota Red,’” she said, referencing the slogan that saw wide use at the state party convention in Duluth earlier this month.
Democrats, meanwhile, have their sights set on a “blue wave” - hoping to retake the U.S. House of Representatives after seeing strong performances in several state and federal elections across the country since Trump’s victory.
In Northeastern Minnesota, five DFLers will be on the Aug. 14 primary ballot, seeking to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan.
“We’re focused and committed to reaching out to Minnesotans in all corners of the state, organizing volunteers, and holding the president accountable for his failed and divisive policies in November,” Martin said.
Trump flew into Duluth on April 4, 2016, when he visited Superior to campaign ahead of the Wisconsin Republican presidential primary. Approximately 1,000 people turned out for the rally amid snow flurries at the Richard I. Bong Memorial Airport, a day before he dropped the contest to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.
It will be Trump’s first visit to Minnesota since taking office. He has made only one other stop in the state since launching his first campaign - a rally at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport on Nov. 6, 2016.
Trump’s Duluth stop will come nearly 14 years after a sitting president last visited the same arena. Bush fired up about 8,000 re-election supporters with a 45-minute speech on July 13, 2004. Meanwhile, protesters gathered outside the arena, resulting in several arrests for disorderly conduct.
Other presidential visits to Duluth have included Bill Clinton in 1994, Jimmy Carter in 1978 and John F. Kennedy in 1963.
News Tribune staff writer Brady Slater contributed to this report.