The Trump campaign accused Minnesota officials of stifling free speech after the state ordered that they cap attendance at 250 people amid concern that a larger event would spread the coronavirus.
“The announcement comes as Trump’s campaign sought to shift the venue to a nearby business but ultimately reversed course and moved ahead with the rally at the airport,” ABC News reports.
“Thanks to the free speech-stifling dictates of Gov. Tim Walz and Attorney General Keith Ellison, only the first 250 people will be admitted,” the Trump campaign said.
The Trump campaign rally will start at 5 p.m. in Rochester. The Biden campaign will hold a drive-in car rally in St. Paul a little earlier, at 3:45 p.m.
Polls show Joe Biden leading by 8 percent in the state. He has 50.2 percent of support compared to Trump‘s 42.2 percent. Trump narrowly lost Minnesota in 2016 and the state has proven to be a valuable battleground in the final days leading up to the general election as the pandemic continues to surge across the Midwest.
Earlier this week, news outlets reported that Trump is recruiting retired police officers to serve as “challengers” at voting locations across the state.
“Poll Challengers do not ‘stop’ people, per se, but act as our eyes and ears in the field and call our hotline to document fraud,” William Willingham, a senior legal adviser and director of Election Day operations for the Trump campaign wrote in an e-mail obtained by the Minnesota Star Tribune. “We don’t necessarily want our Poll Challengers to look intimidating, they cannot carry a weapon in the polls due to state law…. We just want people who won’t be afraid in rough neighborhoods or intimidating situations.”