Early voting in four US states: Minnesota, Virginia, South Dakota, and Wyoming, got underway on Friday even as recent opinion polls gave democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden a comfortable lead over President Donald Trump in Minnesota.
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden criticized President Donald Trump's handling of the U.S. economy on Friday as the two rivals campaigned in the election battleground state of Minnesota.
The two candidates were in Minnesota on the first day of early voting in the state, a reminder that voting in the election already has begun as voters opt to cast ballots early or by mail during the pandemic.
Trump trails Biden in national opinion polls ahead of the Nov. 3 election but is trying to make up ground in Minnesota, a state he lost by about 1.5 percentage points to Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Biden toured a union carpenter training center in Hermantown, a suburb of the Lake Superior port city of Duluth, and painted a grim picture of the economic situation in Minnesota's iron ore mining region, saying the coronavirus pandemic has driven up joblessness.
Biden blamed Trump for the sustained economic downturn, saying the Republican president has done little to contain the public health crisis. "Trump has given up on even pretending to do his job," Biden said.
Trump keeps promising an infrastructure plan, but one never materializes, Biden said.
"He has no plan," Biden added.
Trump spoke to thousands of people gathered outside an airport hangar in Bemidji, Minnesota, on Friday evening. He would win Minnesota thanks to his economic record, Trump said, pointing to the strength of Minnesota's economy in 2019, before the coronavirus struck.
Trump also attacked what he said were Biden's policies on refugees. "Good luck, Minnesota," he said. "Your state will be overrun and destroyed if Biden and the radical left win."
Minnesota was the flashpoint for a national reckoning on race relations, when George Floyd, a Black man, died after a white Minneapolis policeman kneeled on his neck for about nine minutes even after he appeared to lose consciousness.
Trump has responded to the demonstrations by vowing to establish "law and order" while broadly portraying protesters as far-left radicals who would be further empowered by a Biden victory.
Biden has denounced the violence that has flared in some cities while expressing support for the protesters' objections to racism and police brutality. Biden has blamed Trump's divisive rhetoric for inflaming the situation.