Republicans choose St. Paul for 2008 convention

By Mac Weekly Staff

The Republican National Committee announced Wednesday that it will hold its next National Convention in the Twin Cities. The convention will be held September 1-4, 2008 in the Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul. The Twin Cities were among three other finalists for the event, including New York City, Tampa-St. Petersburg and Cleveland. The convention will likely coincide with first-year orientation for Macalester’s class of 2012.

The Democratic Party greeted the news with relative surprise. Minneapolis-St. Paul was among three finalists for the Democratic convention, but the early Republican decision likely means the Democrats will have to choose between their two remaining bids, New York and Denver.
So why are the Republicans hosting a convention in Minnesota, the state with the longest running history of voting for Democratic candidates? The GOP maintains that the decision was based on business and financial perspectives, yet many believe this is part of a larger GOP attempt to win Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin, three swing states with 27 total electoral votes in 2004.
While many political analysts believe that the location of the convention is irrelevant, others believe the locations of the 2004 conventions were of political significance. The Republicans’ convention in New York City emphasized homeland security while some pundits believed the Democratic convention in Boston hurt John Kerry’s attempt to erase his “New England Elite” persona.
The Democratic selection for a host city is expected in the upcoming months, although no specific date has been given. This will be the first national convention in Minnesota since Benjamin Harrison’s failed reelection campaign started in Minneapolis in 1892.