As Election Day nears, unions join rally to get Minnesotans to the polls

After the rally, labor-endorsed Gov. Mark Dayton posed for photos with union volunteers like retired Machinist Mary Sansom.

After the rally, labor-endorsed Gov. Mark Dayton posed for photos with union volunteers like retired Machinist Mary Sansom.

The two candidates atop the DFL ticket this election year know better than most the importance of getting out the vote, the theme of a rally staged by the party today outside the Minnesota Capitol.

Four years ago Gov. Mark Dayton “won by a large, large margin as far as I’m concerned – 8,800 (votes),” joked U.S. Sen. Al Franken, who won his seat in 2008 by 312 votes. “Wow, would I kill for that!”

Backed by volunteers from several unions, including the Laborers, AFSCME Council 5 and the Service Employees, Franken, Dayton and other DFL officeholders and candidates launched a 30-stop, statewide bus tour to rally activists and get supporters from all eight Congressional districts to the polls next Tuesday.

Mike Obermueller, the labor-endorsed candidate in the 2nd Congressional District, took a selfie with volunteers from the Laborers union.

Mike Obermueller, the labor-endorsed candidate in the 2nd Congressional District, took a selfie with volunteers from the Laborers union.

[Click here to sign up for a GOTV volunteer shift!]

Minnesota has a track record of leading the nation in voter turnout, including the highest rate of participation two years ago, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar said. When voter turnout is high, DFL candidates usually win – a trend Republicans have taken note of.

“There are a lot of people trying to get people not to vote,” Klobuchar said.

Steve Simon, the labor-endorsed candidate for Secretary of State, pledged to uphold the state’s “culture of making it easier, not harder for people to vote.” That includes new measures like “no-excuse” absentee balloting, which allows Minnesotans to vote absentee if they so choose.

[View more photos from the rally on the St. Paul Regional Labor Federation’s Facebook page.]

Dayton closed the rally by asking voters to back the DFL ticket from top to bottom, pointing to progress the state made – guaranteeing all-day kindergarten, raising the minimum wage and turning a $5 billion state budget deficit into a $1 billion surplus – since the party took control of the Legislature two years ago.

Things will be very different, Dayton said, if his opponent gets the opportunity to “go all Scott Walker on Minnesota,” as he pledged to do earlier this year.

“Look at the 57 bills I vetoed” when Republicans controlled the Legislature from 2010 to 2011, Dayton said. “Those 57 bills are the flesh and bones of what we’ll have in Minnesota, and that’s not progress.”

View a complete list of labor-endorsed candidates at middleclassmn.org.

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