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Bernie Sanders coming to Duluth, St. Paul for rallies next week

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Bernie Sanders is coming to two Minnesota cities with free rallies next week.

The 74-year-old Vermont Senator – an independent, but running for the Democratic presidential nomination – will head up north before hitting a Twin City.

Sanders will be at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center Arena (better known as the DECC) for a 3 p.m. rally on Tuesday, Jan. 26. Doors open an hour before. It's free and open to the public, on a first-come-first-served basis. RSVPing is "strongly encouraged" though.

You can RSVP here.

And hours later he'll be in St. Paul, at the RiverCentre, for a 7 p.m. rally. Same deal as Duluth – doors open an hour before, free and open to the public, first-come-first-serve, and you should probably RSVP.

You can RSVP here.

Sanders and polling

Sanders is a self-described Democratic socialist, who throughout his campaign has argued for taxing the rich, closing the gap between the highest and lowest earners, universal health care, and free access to public colleges.

His ideas have been questioned in part for their potential cost – Fortune reported last fall (before specifics of some plans were released) that a Wall Street Journal analysis pegged it at $15 trillion in health care costs alone. Sanders put out specifics of his health insurance plan this past weekend.

But polling (which isn't always a great indicator of what will actually happen) has been kind to Sanders.

FiveThirtyEight notes he's now just 2 percentage points behind Hillary Clinton (long presumed to be the frontrunner) in Iowa, according to a Des Moines Register poll. A CNN survey released Thursday has Sanders actually ahead, and FiveThirtyEights's own polls-only forecast has Clinton at a "slight" advantage.

As for his large crowds at rallies, the Washington Post says millennials are a driving force behind his popularity. But younger people are often unreliable when it comes to actually voting on Election Day.

Sanders in Minnesota

In Minnesota, thousands of people showed up to hear Sanders speak in Minneapolis last May. About 600 supporters showed up in Rochester a few weeks later.

Since then, he's picked up an endorsement from U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (for Minnesota's 5th Congressional District, the Twin Cities area).

And in November, his campaign Twitter account weighed in on the #Justice4Jamar protests.

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