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Election eve: Last day on the campaign trail


There's lots happening on the campaign trail throughout Minnesota on this last day before Election Day. Here's a quick rundown of some of the headlines:

Last-minute hot-button issue: Ebola

The Minnesota Republican Party began airing a radio ad Monday that used the Ebola crisis to attack Gov. Mark Dayton, MPR News reports.

The ad claims Dayton isn't doing enough to prepare for an Ebola outbreak, and criticizes him for not supporting a ban on travelers who come to Minnesota from West African countries at the center of the Ebola outbreaks.

"Frankly, I don't think Governor Dayton is capable of handling Ebola," the female narrator said.

Democrats called the ad fear-mongering, and Dayton told a campaign audience Monday that a travel ban would be unwise and ineffective, according to MPR News.

"They've gone from the garbage can into the sewer," said Dayton, who criticized the Republican Party's last-minute attack.

Similar ads calling into question Dayton's handling of several big issues appeared in some Minnesota newspapers.

Last polls before Election Day

The last polls released by KSTP/SurveyUSA in the races for governor and U.S. Senate show margins are tightening in both of them, but the incumbent Democrats are still leading their Republican challengers.

Gov. Mark Dayton leads Republican Jeff Johnson by just 5 points, 47 percent to 42 percent. Hannah Nicollet of the Independence Party and Libertarian candidate Chris Holbrook each have 2 percent. Another 6 percent are either undecided or support other candidates. Dayton led by 12 points a month ago and 10 points two weeks ago.

In the U.S. Senate race, incumbent Al Franken still has a double-digit lead over Republican challenger Mike McFadden, 51 percent to 40 percent. Franken led by 18 points a month ago and by 15 points two weeks ago.

The poll has a margin of error of +/-4.1 percent.

Last round of TV ads

Candidates are releasing their last campaign ads trying to close the deal with voters. The Star Tribune has a roundup of those ads in some of the major races.

Candidates, parties and volunteers have been out in force Monday in last-minute get-out-the-vote efforts.

Last debates

Franken and McFadden held their last debate Sunday night in St. Paul, and while they sparred over some issues, they also agreed on some subjects including the need for immigration reform, net neutrality and how to handle terrorism in the Mideast. Read a recap here.

Dayton and Johnson's last debate was on Friday night during the Almanac program on TPT. It bore many similarities to their other four debates, with Dayton touting big picture successes and Johnson arguing too much has gone wrong in the last four years. Read a recap here.

Large numbers vote early by absentee ballot

For the first time, Minnesotans were able to vote by absentee ballot for any reason before Election Day. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie told MPR News that 225,000 absentee ballots were requested since mid-October, and more than 175,000 have been returned.

The campaign season in 140 characters

The Star Tribune challenged its readers to express their feelings about this year's campaign in one tweet.

Here are a few responses.

Take a look at more of them on the paper's website and on Twitter #onetweet2014.

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