By Dan Nienaber
Free Press Staff Writer
MANKATO — In an effort to meet his goal of visiting all 87 Minnesota counties before Election Day, U.S. Senate candidate Kurt Bills checked Blue Earth County off his list with a stop Tuesday in Mankato.
The high school economics teacher from Rosemount focused on the national economy while he spoke to about a dozen people at the Blue Earth County Republican Party Headquarters in Mankato Place downtown.
Bills echoed 1st Congressional District candidate Allen Quist, who had a press conference in the same spot 90 minutes earlier, when he said the country is heading for a “fiscal cliff.”
Federal spending has to be cut because it has become a burden for private business, Bills said. He also said the country needs to continue to maintain its infrastructure, such as its highways and dams, to support commerce.
As a public teacher, a vibrant economy is important for his ability to teach, he said.
Bills criticized the “corporate elite” and “Washington elite” for not addressing economic problems. He also said the “media elite” are ignoring his message by suggesting his opponent, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, has already won the race.
His campaign is facing a financial disadvantage, but Bills is predicting a come-from-behind win similar to the election that sent the late Paul Wellstone to the Senate in 1990.
“We can make a lot of little,” Bills said.
In a response, Klobuchar's campaign noted that she visited all of the state’s counties during her last campaign and during each of the six years she’s been in office.
“She knows our state and our state knows her,” said Linden Zakula, Klobuchar communications director. “Given that her husband grew up in Mankato and her in-laws live there she is very familiar with Blue Earth County.”