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1st District: High turnout, but who benefits?

It’s been a busy day for both candidates in the 1st Congressional District in southern Minnesota, with incumbent Democratic Rep. Tim Walz and Republican challenger Dr. Brian Davis taking it to the streets all day.

According to campaign manager Chris Schmitter, Walz cast his vote at 7 a.m. at his local polling place in Mankato, was out door-knocking in Mankato at 8 a.m., hit a church service at Gustavus at 10 a.m., then high-tailed it across the district to Rochester.

Davis cast his vote at 8 a.m. at his local polling place in Rochester, then hit phone banks for most of the morning and took to street corners with supporters around the district, campaign manager Mike Spellings said late this afternoon.

Both campaigns said that the turnout appears to be high. What does that mean in a district that for most of the 20th century elected Republicans to the seat, but now has a Democrat in Washington with deep ties in the community?

“In my estimation, it does help” Davis, Spellings said. “The district is conservative, and that’s where the base of support is. It’s a presidential campaign with candidates on the opposite ends of the spectrum, and we’re more confident that that will help us.”

But the Walz campaign believes the youth vote will help the congressman win reelection. “Two years ago, Congressmen Walz went to Minnesota State University, Mankato, and really had to talk to students about registering and voting,” Schmitter said. “This year, everyone had already registered. You don’t know which candidate they’re going for, but that’s potentially helpful to us.”

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