In the Spotlight

News & Features
Reporter's Notebook - Monday, July 31, 2000
By Mike Mulcahy
Part of's Republican National Convention coverage.


Party officials say three Minnesota candidates got to speak during the opening session of the convention (see Michael Khoo's story) because the national GOP thinks the state is in play. Senator Rod Grams is thought to be in a close race and is expected to benefit from the exposure. Sixth District candidate John Kline is taking his second run at incumbant Bill Luther and the national party thinks he's within striking distance. Party officials say former Ramsey County Attorney Tom Foley's decision to enter the Fourth District Congresional race gave a big boost to GOP-endorsed Linda Runbeck, and that she's now getting lots of attention and fundraising help from officials in Washington.


As delegates boarded their buses Monday morning they were met by volunteers from the Republican National Coalition for Life handing out vests. The vests are white with red and blue lettering that says "the life of the party." The group wants delegates to wear the vests on the convention floor to demonstrate their opposition to abortion. Delegate Judie Fotsch of St. Paul said in 1992 in Houston anti-abortion delegates wore red cowboy hats. But Fotsch says Republican National Committeeman Jack Meeks has banned hats. "Hats make us look dorky," says Meek's wife Annette, who is also a delegate.


Bad weather made it hard for several members of Minnesota's delegation to get to Philadelphia. Eight people left the Twin Cities on Saturday morning, expecting a reasonable trip after they picked up a connecting flight in Chicago. Because of storms on the East Coast, they ended up spending twelve hours in Chicago and then flying into Washington D.C., renting a van, and driving to Philly. They finally arrived Sunday at 4 a.m., unwilling to even listen to anyone else gripe about travel arrrangements. For making the thirty minute drive from their hotel in King of Prussia to the First Union Center, the delegates board special shuttle buses.