Kennedy makes campaign stop, urges importance of voting
WILLMAR -- Mark Kennedy was pumped during a campaign stop Saturday evening in downtown Willmar. "We're really seeing a lot of energy," he told reporters. The half-hour rally was one of more than 30 stops that Kennedy, Minnesota's Republican hopef...
WILLMAR -- Mark Kennedy was pumped during a campaign stop Saturday evening in downtown Willmar.
"We're really seeing a lot of energy," he told reporters.
The half-hour rally was one of more than 30 stops that Kennedy, Minnesota's Republican hopeful for the United States Senate, is making during the final days leading up to Tuesday's election.
A cluster of supporters greeted Kennedy's bus as it rolled up outside the Willmar Electric Service office on Becker Avenue.
Indoors, some 40 people gathered to hear Kennedy -- who was accompanied by his wife, Debbie, and GOP Seventh District congressional candidate Mike Barrett -- give a pep talk and urge the importance of voting on Tuesday.
"We know that the world belongs to those who turn out," he said.
Kennedy reminded his listeners that he won his first election, against incumbent David Minge in the former Second Congressional District in 2000, by a margin of only 155 votes.
"We're going to need everybody. This last 72 hours is critical," he said.
In an effort to mobilize voters, Kandiyohi County Republicans launched an aggressive phone campaign this past weekend. Their goal: to make 14,000 calls in Kandiyohi County by Tuesday.
Kennedy drew smiles and laughs when he handed out a batch of his wife's homemade cookies -- he called them "guaranteed to strengthen your marriage cookies" -- to help fortify the phone bank volunteers.
"This is going to make a difference," he said of their efforts.
Polls have shown Kennedy lagging behind his Democrat opponent, Amy Klobuchar.
But Kennedy said Saturday that the numbers also show his campaign is gaining momentum.
The wind "has clearly moved in our direction," he said.
He underscored his rural background and the importance of having a Minnesota senator who understands agriculture. The first bill he introduced in the House of Representatives six years ago was aimed at helping rural ambulance services, he said.
"I have been a strong advocate for rural Minnesota and will continue to be so in the United States Senate," he said.
Kennedy also promised to uphold Republican values.
"We know what's at stake in this election," he said. "There are big differences on big issues."
His weekend campaign stop in Willmar was the third by a major candidate in the space of a week. Mike Hatch, the DFL candidate for governor, visited town last Monday, and Klobuchar appeared at a DFL rally Friday night.
Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who is seeking re-election, was scheduled to make a stop at 2:30 this morning at the Willmar Conference Center.