The secret to Klobuchar’s success seems to be that a lot of rural voters like her brand of moderate politics, pragmatism, and openness to compromise. Take my hometown, which is located in Pennington County, Minnesota, a rural, farm-based community home to a computer parts distribution company and Arctic Cat snowmobiles: Hillary Clinton lost it in 2016 by 27.6 points. Two years later, Klobuchar won it by 0.02 percent. That’s a razor-thin margin but a hell of a swing, and it’s a win in an extremely Trump-friendly area.
“If you look at 2016, the same trends that were happening in Wisconsin and Michigan were happening in Minnesota,” said Jeff Blodgett, a longtime Minnesota Democratic operative who worked on Klobuchar’s first reelection campaign in 2006 and serves as an informal adviser to her campaign. Trump made it “just over the line” in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, but fell short in Minnesota.
“In spite of that, Amy has continued to overperform. She’s the most popular politician in Minnesota by far,” Blodgett added. “She’s able to appeal broadly to the electorate. She’s been able to build a strong base vote, and able to win a state like Wisconsin.”
Klobuchar is considered a moderate, but she should still appeal to voters on the further left of the Democratic Party. She’s one of the 15 most progressive members of the US Senate per FiveThirtyEight’s analysis of Congress members’ voting records, for example.