MINNEAPOLIS — Former President Bill Clinton headlined a get-out-the-vote rally at the University of Minnesota Friday, calling on the hundreds of college students inside the auditorium to get to the polls in November and give Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Sen. Al Franken second terms.
Clinton capped off a series of speeches from Minnesota politicians, each who delivered an urgent message: If you want Democrats in office this time next year, help break the cycle of low turnout in midterm elections.
Franken eked out a win after a lengthy recount in the 2008 election, and Dayton did the same to take the governor's office in 2010. As the party braces for a bruising year nationally, the two Minnesota Democrats hold steady leads in public polling with less than a month before Election Day.
But Dayton and Franken aren't letting up. The pair tailored their message to the college students inside Northrop Auditorium, emphasizing policies like a two-year tuition freeze at Minnesota's public universities and colleges — which Dayton backed and signed in 2013 — and Franken's proposal to allow students to refinance loan debt.
Franken called on students to help replicate the wave of young voters who were key to President Barack Obama's 2008 election. In an emotional plea to avoid a repeat of the drop off — and disastrous year for Democrats— of 2010, Franken told a story about the late Sen. Paul Wellstone encouraging his son across the finish line at cross-country running meets and asked, "Will you be my Paul?"
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