Saturday, September 6, 2008

Republicans enjoy ups and downs at convention: Rochester Post Bulletin

9/5/2008 10:26:59 AM

By Matthew StollePost-Bulletin, Rochester MN
The Rochester delegation is having its ups and downs at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul:
• Anarchists have sown mischief in the early days of the convention. One tactic being used to disrupt the convention is to slash and puncture the tires of convention shuttle buses carrying delegates and alternates to the convention arena.
• Duane Quam, national alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention and a Byron resident, was riding on a bus that blew a tire caused by a sharp object. Quam had to wait while another bus was summoned to take him to the convention.
• Minnesota's national delegation has the equivalent of ringside seats at the convention. The 41-member delegation, which includes state Rep. Randy Demmer of Hayfield, occupies the first several rows of seats just to the right of the speaker's platform. When Republican presidential candidate John McCain accepts his party's nomination on Thursday night, state delegates will be about 20 yards away.
• GOP Senate Minority Leader Dave Senjem of Rochester had an opportunity to exchange a few words with former presidential candidate and ex-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at small fundraiser earlier in the convention.
"I congratulated him on his health care initiatives, told him he would have been a fine vice president," Senjem said. Romney was philosophical about his recent political defeats -- losing the presidential nomination and being passed over as Sen. John McCain's running mate -- indicating to Senjem that the political stars simply had not aligned for him.
• Brian Davis, the GOP candidate for Congress in the First Congressional District, addressed the Minnesota delegation on Tuesday and later met with GOP House Minority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri.
Davis said Blunt inquired about the state of the campaign. While Blunt did not offer any specific pledges of support, Davis said the race is rising higher on the Republican National Congressional Committee's radar screen.
The seat is held by Democratic Congressman Tim Walz, a first-term representative from Mankato, but Davis must first beat state Sen. Dick Day of Owatonna to advance to the general election.