Race for the White House heats up

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- In 2016, President Donald Trump won the state of Wisconsin by less than one percentage point, while losing Minnesota by less than two percent.

As the presidential election nears one year away, both states seems to be high priorities for candidates.

"Much like the 2016 election, it's going to depend largely on nine or ten out of the 50 states and of those nine or ten states, 70 percent of them are in the upper Midwest. Of those, two of them are Minnesota and Wisconsin," said WEAU Political Analyst John Frank.

In the Chippewa Valley, local political analysts are taking notice this election cycle.

"It's really been interesting to see how in tune people seem to be with this election at this point. I've been a volunteer for 20 years now, I've been with formalized leadership for 12, and usually in October, more than 12 months before an election cycle, you don't see this type of energy," Republican Party of Wisconsin Treasurer Brian Westrate.

Frank says Trump's visit to the Twin Cities shows how pivotal this area will play in the election.

"You will see that the state is almost all red except for the blue arrowhead in Northeastern Minnesota and the area around the Twin Cities. So it's a clear signal that they're going to be working around the area of the Twin Cities, as well as across the border into Northwestern Wisconsin," he explained.

As for the democratic candidates, their focus right now is on Iowa.

But as the crowded field dwindles down, Wisconsin will become a major focus point for the hopeful nominees.

"With those larger numbers of candidates, people are seeing candidates who really peak their interest and that's driving people to be more involved early on than it might otherwise," said Eau Claire County Democratic Party Chair Beverly Wickstrom.

More than a year remains until the 2020 election, but the race has already begun.