Ahead of Vice President Mike Pence's scheduled Monday campaign stop at the Range Regional Airport in Hibbing, members of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor held a press-only event Sunday at the Labor Temple in Duluth to advocate for the Joe Biden and Kamala Harris presidential ticket, discuss mining and condemn Pence's visit.
"On the eve of Mike Pence's visit to the Iron Range tomorrow, we find out that his chief of staff has COVID and instead of doing the responsible thing and pulling out of the event, here they come to have another super spreader event in the state of Minnesota," said DFL party chair Ken Martin.
Martin alluded to President Donald Trump's rally in Bemidji in September, to which officials from the Minnesota Department of Health linked nine cases of COVID-19.
"This is reckless. It's irresponsible and we shouldn't trust anyone who is willing to risk the lives of Americans to campaign," Martin said.
The DFL event also featured Denis McDonough, a former White House Chief of Staff who promoted Biden as the candidate to bring back job growth to northern Minnesota.
"If you look at the eight years of the Obama/Biden administration, where they invested in the American industry, including steel, you can also see record job growth. That's precisely the kind of investments, planning and policy you can expect from the Biden/Harris administration," McDonough said. "Not the empty promises and lies that we were just talking about."
On the theme of Iron Range job growth, John Arbogast, United Steelworks 1938 president, argued that Republicans say they support mining, but don't support miners.
"They support the companies and the millionaire CEOs, but over and over they've voted against things like collective bargaining and other things that make lives better for the men and women of the Iron Range," Arbogast said.
Arbogast also argued against the idea that the Iron Range is "roaring back."
"My question is, if it's roaring back, why are the 300 men and women at Keetac about to run out of health insurance, unemployment and have no real future through the winter?" Arbogast said. "We need a president who is committed to steel and infrastructure and helping the Iron Range."
Later Sunday afternoon the Minnesota GOP held a press call to react to the DFL's event. Congressman Pete Stauber argued that the "Biden campaign is trying to rewrite history" and that "the Iron Range bore the brunt of disastrous policies under the Obama/Biden administration." Eveleth mayor Bob Vlaisavljevich agreed with Stauber's assertions.
"We lost a whole generation of young people up here thanks to their policies," Vlaisavljevich said.
The GOP didn't make an official comment on the Vice President's upcoming visit on Monday.