The Winona Daily News is in Rochester today as President Trump visits southeastern Minnesota.
It's the president's second visit to Minnesota in less than four months, a sign that the White House considers the state to be an important battleground in the midterm elections. Four competitive Congressional races — including a race for an open seat in the 1st District — two U.S. Senator races, an open governor's race and a high-profile battle for attorney general are all on the ticket.
We'll be providing photos, videos and more throughout the afternoon and evening. Click refresh to see the latest reporting. And we'll have coverage in Friday's Winona Daily News as well as throughout the weekend.
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Trump's closing remarks
Trump stumps for Jason Lewis, Jim Hagedorn
Trump takes the stage in Rochester
Housley, Johnson get the crowd riled up
U.S. Senate candidate Karin Housley and GOP gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson were among the first speakers at the rally Thursday.
Johnson recalled a phone call from President Trump the day after the August primary.
“Isn’t it fun to win when no one thinks you have any chance?" Trump told Johnson, who upset Tim Pawlenty, the former governor who had 10-to-1 advantage in campaign contributions.
Johnson laid out the differences between him and DFL candidate Tim Walz, the six-term Congressman serving the state's 1st District, which includes Rochester and Winona.
"We could not have more different views than where Minnesota should go," Johnson said, highlighting the basic differences between left and right views on taxes, health care and immigration.
The last topic drew the loudest response from the crowd, which was still filling in the arena two hours before Trump was scheduled to take the stage.
"Walz wants to make Minnesota a sanctuary state," Johnson said, pausing to let the boos accumulate. "Over my dead body."
"Tim Walz represents a third Dayton term," Johnson said, "just about 10 steps to the left."
State Sen. Karin Housely (R-St. Mary's Point) took a page out of Trump's playbook when she attacked her opponent, U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, as "Taxin' Tina."
Smith was appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton to Al Franken's Senate seat. The Nov. 6 election will determine who fills the final two years of the term.
Housley was also the first to bring up the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.
"Every accuser deserves to be heard," Housley said, before ripping into the Democrats for what she essentially said was looking the other way on claims against Keith Ellison, the Democratic National Committee vice chair, a U.S. Rep. from Minneapolis, and the DFL candidate for attorney general in Minnesota.
She incorrectly said that Ellison is facing sexual assault charges when a former girlfriend said he physically harmed her. Ellison has denied the charges and has called for a House investigation.
President Trump Visits Rochester
Winona native: Trump's policies are working
Brett Losinski, 38, of New Ulm and a Winona native, said the president's policies have had a positive impact on his livelihood. The retired soldier credited Donald Trump for a dramatic drop in his taxes and for taking steps to secure the border.
High hopes for cattle business
Dan Monahan, 55, a cattle-hoof trimmer and farmer from Plainview (in the black hat), waits in line for the president's arrival. Monahan said he was hopeful the president's proposed trade deal with Canada would bolster the cattle business.
A tame crowd waits for the rally to begin while staying warm
A stream of red Make America Great Again hats flowed slowly toward the Mayo Civic Center Arena on Thursday afternoon in Rochester.
Trump supporters from all areas of Minnesota and beyond tucked their hands into their pockets to take a break from the brisk 50-degree temperatures. Over loud speakers, classic rock streams in between brief recordings of Donald Trump's inauguration speech. Meanwhile, vendors hawking MAGA caps, T-shirts and buttons walked the lines.
The rally goers are, for the most part, silent. There are no chants, and the handful of protestors outside the Mayo Civic Center wave their signs silently.
A larger protest rally is being held at a park down the road.
Donald Trump rally in Rochester
GOP candidates meet and greet
Although President Trump isn't on the ballot this fall, there are plenty of GOP candidates who are.
Among them are gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson and U.S. Senatorial candidate Karin Housley.
Both were on the floor at the Mayo Civic Center arena hours before the event was scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m., talking to supporters and members of the media.
Johnson is running against U.S. Rep. Tim Walz (DFL-Mankato), a six-term congressman from the 1st District. Housley is running against U.S. Sen. Tina Smith to finish the remainder of the seat previously held by Al Franken.