ALBERT LEA -- With less than two weeks to go until the general election, Gov. Mark Dayton and Speaker of the House Paul Thissen on Wednesday praised District 27A Rep. Shannon Savick during a campaign stop in Albert Lea.
Dayton said it was because of Savick's diligence in the last legislative session that Albert Lea was awarded $7.5 million in state funding to dredge Fountain Lake.
"She has really been a leader on issues that matter here in Freeborn County," Thissen echoed.
The two DFL leaders spoke in front of a crowd of at least 75 people at Prairie Wind Coffee in downtown Albert Lea.
Savick, DFL-Wells, will face Peggy Bennett, R-Albert Lea, and Tom Price, IP-Alden, in the general election in what has historically been a swing district.
Outside groups have spent big money on the candidates as both sides have struggled for power in the state Legislature.
In the 2012 race, Savick obtained 653 more votes than incumbent Republican Rep. Rich Murray, while Independence Party candidate William Wagner received 1,574 votes, enough to bridge the gap between the other two candidates. In 2010, Murray defeated DFL Rep. Robin Brown by a mere 58 votes.
"It's a very tight race," said Thissen, of Minneapolis. "The majority could turn in eight to 10 races, and this is one of them."
He said he had door-knocked for Savick earlier in the day and was going to Blooming Prairie for door-knocking in the afternoon.
Dayton talked about the successes the state has seen in the last two years after the DFL took over the majority of the Legislature, compared to his first two years in office. He described the second half of his term as different as "night and day" from the first term.
He said the economy has improved, and the state has been able to erase its deficit, pay back a school shift and invest money in all-day kindergarten, noting that these successes are at stake in the upcoming election.
He said when he first took office there was a 7.9 percent unemployment rate in Freeborn County. In August, that had decreased to 3.8 percent.
"We have a chance to move ahead and to continue the progress we've had the last two years," Dayton said.
Savick said when asked two weeks ago about her chances to get re-elected she was not confident she would do well. Since then, however, she said she has received a lot of support from both local residents and the DFL Party. The party has sent down people to help door knock and share her message.
"It's been a good couple weeks," she said. "I'm feeling better about it."
Bennett, when contacted Wednesday evening, questioned where Dayton and Thissen were a year ago when it was not election season.
"It's an example of where the political stuff comes before the people," she said. "I think a representative should be out among the people a lot asking their thoughts on issues. I'm tired of all the political plays when we need to get to work for the people and not just pretend during campaign time that we care what people think."