Considering that the Democratic convention in Denver has, so far, turned out to be a financial disaster and a logistical quagmire, Democrat big-shots have got to be kicking themselves for not picking St. Paul as the host city, beaten out by the Republicans.
St. Paul, Minneapolis and, therefore, the state of Minnesota is a Democratic state. There’s no real indication that the state is the swing state it was in 2004. Sure, we have a Republican governor. But Tim Pawlenty won re-election in 2006 by the skin of his teeth, partly because he was in a three-way race and his chief opponent — Mike Hatch — spooked voters in the last days of the campaign by sending his running mate to farm country with no apparent knowledge — at least on that day — of the number one issue (ethanol) and then capped it off with a tirade against a reporter, who he is alleged to have called “a Republican whore.”
Fast-forward to 2008. Republicans are due in St. Paul, and the region is having a hard time finding volunteers to help out.
Part of the answer comes in an e-mail today from my old Minnesota Fantasy Legislature friend George Linkert. It appears that people in this Democratic state don’t want to help Republicans put on a good show.
I don’t know how much you are following the upcoming RNC convention, and the push for volunteers, but I was involved with some interesting discussion this last week I thought you would find interesting.
I’m on the board for the Seward Concert Band, a community band based out of South Minneapolis. We were asked last week to perform on the stage at Civicfest , a non-partisan community event being held in conjunction with the RNC convention. I was in charge of polling our band members to see if we could have a viable band.
At first, responses were typically polite “yes” or “no.” Then someone exploring the site, found only RNC gear available at the shop, which raised her partisan flag. After this discovery, there was some e-mail discussion about whether this was truly a non-partisan event, and a couple people started to bow out. Some have tried to change this tone in our discussion, but I am doubtful at this point if we would be able to pull this off.
I know there was some news in the last week about recruiting volunteers, I wonder if other organizations like ours are having these sorts of difficulties?
Officials of both cities have tried to stress, basically, that volunteering to help St. Paul (and Minneapolis) put its best face(s) forward for Republicans doesn’t make you a Republican., but a lot of people aren’t buying it.
If you’re a volunteer,thinking about volunteering, or have decided not to volunteer, let’s hear from you.