Minnesota Called For Biden, Despite Spirited Trump Efforts to End 48-year Run For Democrats

Former Vice President Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump in Minnesota on Tuesday night after a campaign that featured both candidates making significant 11th hour efforts to woo voters in the battleground state.

After midnight, the Associated Press, CNN and Fox projected Biden as the winner. At about 12:45 a.m., Biden had 54.3 percent of the vote with 87 percent reported. His lead over Trump was 1,457,135 to 1,174,926, or 282,209 votes.

Trump had considered the North Star State a key pickup opportunity and was keen to overturn the narrow 1.5 percent defeat to Hillary Clinton in 2016.

On Friday, Trump held a rally in Rochester as he fought to become the first Republican presidential candidate the state has backed since Richard Nixon in 1972. On the same day, Biden took part in a drive-in event in St. Paul.

In the weeks leading up to the election, Trump managed to substantially close the gap with Biden. On September 24, Trump was trailing Biden by 11.3 percent—53.3 percent to 42 percent—in an average of polls, according to Real Clear Politics.

This narrowed in the following weeks to 6.6 percent on October 14—47.3 percent to 40.7 percent—to only 4.7 points on October 28 (48 percent to 43.3 percent).

The victory is a significant one, netting him 10 electoral college votes and retaining the state Clinton won four years ago.

It comes in a turbulent year for the state with Minneapolis the epicenter of a debate about race relations following the death George Floyd, a Black man who was in the custody of the city's police department, which sparked nationwide protests about racial injustice.

Last week, a federal appeals court ordered that mail-in ballots in Minnesota that arrived after November 3 must be separated in case any future ruling says they should not be counted.

Republican electors had challenged the state's plan to accept mail-in ballots that were postmarked on time up to a week after Election Day, arguing the extension violated federal law that has established November 3 as the date of this year's general election.

"There is no pandemic exception to the Constitution," said the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit.

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon told CBS: "The court's decision is a tremendous and unnecessary disruption to Minnesota's election, just days before Election Day."

A record 1.6 million Minnesotans are absentee voting this year. The extension was to account for postal delays and an anticipated surge in mail-in votes caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The seven-day extension will see results come in as counties provide daily reports on how many absentee ballots were received and processed.

Ballot box Minnesota
A ballot in a ballot box at a drive-thru drop-off for absentee ballots on August 11, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The state was a key battleground for Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Stephen Maturen/Getty Images