October 31, 2020, Eden Prairie – Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, U.S. Senator Tina Smith and Congressman Dean Phillips were welcomed to the Cummins-Phipps-Grill House campus on Pioneer Trail Saturday afternoon by an enthusiastic and socially-distanced, Halloween array of local DFL candidates and their campaign teams.
Smith and Phillips are running for re-election and were part of Saturday’s ‘Get Out the Vote’ caravan of cars and a graphically painted van. The caravan started on Skyline Drive in Duluth, motoring on to rallies in St. Cloud, Wayzata, Eden Prairie, and North Minneapolis.
Minnesota DFL Party Chair Ken Martin emceed the event from a riser in the parking lot next to the historic farmhouse. Martin grew up and attended high school in Eden Prairie. Martin’s opening words were about history in the making in the closing days of the 2020 election season.
Martin enthusiastically reminded the socially-distanced gathering of 60 some Democrats, “We’ve got 75 hours before the polls close … we’re going to be out there making sure everyone in this state votes!”
Eden Prairie Mayor Ron Case delivered a short greeting and then Martin introduced State Representatives Carlie-Kotyza-Witthuhn and Laurie Pryor, State Senators Steve Cwodzinski and Melisa Franzen, State Auditor Julie Blaha, Congressman Dean Phillips, Governor Tim Walz and U.S. Senator Tina Smith.
The candidates re-worked familiar talking points on voting rights, President Trump’s Covid-19 response and the faltering economy, education, social justice, jobs and democracy.
Governor Walz accused the President of indifference to suspected voter suppression and missing his opportunities to unify the nation’s response to the pandemic, “To come to Rochester yesterday and use those opportunities to condemn doctors and our medical professionals it’s so far beyond the pale. Getting your butt whipped on Tuesday will just be the first of what’s coming after that. That’s the first thing. And Ken [Martin] and everybody else is right. If you are trying to stop people from voting you do not respect the democracy. If you are stopping people from voting you do not respect the sacrifices of John Lewis and countless others that gave us that right to vote.”
As cheering during the rally was ramping down, Senator Tina Smith noted that while the attendees were focused on the speakers, a bald eagle was circling behind them over the park. Smith smiled and said, “So I take that as a very good omen. Don’t you?”
Video and photos of the event posted on Facebook and Twitter by the Minnesota State DFL show Halloween costumes worn by Dean Phillips as Winnie-The-Pooh, State Senator Melisa Franzen as U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and State Representative Carlie Kotyza-Witthun’s children in various guises.
This article is based on email exchanges with three Eden Prairie rally attendees and video and images posted by the DFL Party of Minnesota and Carlie Kotyzu-Witthuhn.