Democrats Seek To Keep Minnesota Blue

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Minnesota hasn't voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1972, but this year it's a key battleground state in the upcoming presidential election.

Sen. Barack Obama's double-digit lead in state polls has shrunk to just over 2 points, but Brian Melendez, the head of the state's Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, says Democrats always expected a tough race.

"The tightening is not very surprising, especially as we get toward the convention," he tells Michele Norris.

Melendez notes that polls tend to ignore younger Democratic voters who don't own land lines.

"They have cell phones. They communicate by e-mail and by text messaging," he says. "I think the polls are missing a lot of those folks."

Melendez dismissed speculation that if Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is picked as Republican John McCain's running mate, the GOP will get a boost in the state.

"I think if Tim Pawlenty gets on the ticket, McCain does not carry Minnesota," he says. "He'd be a great candidate from my point of view."

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