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Reporter's Notebook - July 30, 2000
By Mike Mulcahy
Part of's Republican National Convention coverage.

Minnesota Republican Party Chair Ron Eibensteiner. (See larger.)

Minnesota Republican Party Chair Ron Eibensteiner is doing something most political pros won't - making predictions. Picking winners before anyone votes can backfire bigtime if the prediction turns out to be wrong. But on the eve of the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, Eibensteiner says the GOP will pick up two congressional seats in Minnesota this November. Eibensteiner says State Senator Linda Runbeck's chances of winning the Fourth District seat left open by DFL'er Bruce Vento's retirement were enhanced when former Ramsey County Attorney Tom Foley entered the race as an Independence party candidate. He says John Kline is also running strong against DFL incumbent Bill Luther in the Sixth District, and that GOP endorsed candidate Mark Kennedy has a good chance of upsetting incumbent David Minge in the Second. Eibensteiner says Republicans ought to be able to pick up two of the three seats.


Security is extremely tight in Philadelphia. Secret Service agents plan to stop each shuttle bus before it's allowed close to the First Union Convention Center, inspect it with bomb sniffing dogs, and look underneath it with the kind of mirror on a stick they used to check your exhaust with at the emission testing stations. After that everyone going into the convention center will have to pass through a metal detector. Demonstrators plan to protest in downtown Philadelphia, and police officers are patrolling on foot, and horseback and on bikes. Minnesota Republican National Committeeman Jack Meeks cautioned delegates to ignore protesters, "Don't pick a fight. The last thing we want to do is engage with any demonstrators." It's actually unlikley Minnesota delegates will even see any protesters. the delegates are staying in a hotel about 25 miles north of downtown, and the convention center is about 10 minutes south of the city center. There seems to be no way police will allow protesters anywhere near the actual convention.

St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman, chair of the Bush campaign in Minnesota. (See larger.)

St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman will be a prominent player at the GOP convention. He chairs the George W. Bush campaign in Minnesota, and was also appointed the delegation whip on Sunday. That means he's responsible for getting the delegates' votes in line when Bush is nominated. Coleman told delegates Sunday, "Our goal is to make sure that Al Gore has big trouble in Minnesota." Noting that some members of the delegation had orginally supported other candidates, Coleman sounded a "compassionate conservative" note. "We're a big party. We're a united party," he said. Coleman is considering a run for governor or U.S. Senator two years from now.