If you haven’t noticed, the Iron Range is changing. When Vice President Pence visited Duluth Friday, he took the stage with 6 Iron Range mayors. That would’ve been unthinkable in 2008.

It’s taken time to transition from DFL domination to where we’re at today but it’s worth it. It’s just a matter of time before the Iron Range delegation to the state legislature changes. When that happens, Republicans will cement their majorities in the Minnesota legislature.

“There’s many people in northern Minnesota who truly are Republicans,” Two Harbors Mayor Chris Swanson said, describing a blurring of what had once been solid Democrat country. “They truly understand what’s going on.” Swanson joined five other Range mayors in timing their Trump endorsement with Pence’s arrival at the Clure Public Marine Terminal.

This is telling:

Former Duluth Mayor Gary Doty was also pointed out of the crowd by Pence, for being another Democrat who has swung in favor of Trump. Afterward, Doty explained he was a Democratic-Farmer-Labor office-holder in the state Legislature in the 1970s, but held a series of nonpartisan offices after that. He’s always prided himself on being independent, he said.

“I come from a DFL family and many of them still are,” Doty said. “My dad was the head of the Teamsters and the things he fought for, jobs, benefits and working men and women, the Democratic party has lost that. They’ve gone so far left I can’t support the Democratic ticket this year.”

Environmental activists run the Metro DFL. The Metro DFL runs the DFL — for the time being. When Susan Kent defeated Tom Bakk to become the Senate Minority Leader, it signalled that the Metro DFL was asserting control. When Jen McEwen humiliated Erik Simonson in the SD-7 primary, the DFL sent the unmistakable message that support for mining in the DFL had finally evaporated.

Support for the Democrats is shrinking in Minneapolis, thanks to the Minneapolis City Council, which is 100% DFL, voting to eliminate the Minneapolis Police Department. Republicans already dominate rural/exurban Minnesota. With President Trump emphasizing school choice, the Trump-Pence ticket has a legitimate shot at flipping Minnesota into the red column.

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