The Republican Party of Minnesota will host a forum for GOP presidential candidates in Bloomington in early October, the party announced in a press release.
The forum will be part of the Midwest Leadership Conference, which is held in a different state in the Republican National Committee’s Midwest Region every two years. The conference, to be held Oct. 7 and 8 at the Sheraton Bloomington Hotel, will also feature activist training and speeches from conservative leaders.
More states are hosting events for potential Republican presidential candidates, trying to lure them away from Iowa and New Hampshire, the early voting states that typically get a large share of candidates’ attention leading up to the election. In Florida, for example, two debates will be held for Republican presidential hopefuls in 2011.
Two Minnesotan Republicans, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Rep. Michele Bachmann, are considering a run for president. The hotel is in GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen’s district, which is adjacent to Bachmann’s.
If presidential candidates are spending a lot of time in Iowa by that point, it should be easy for them to get to Bloomington. A close suburb of the Twin Cities, Bloomington is only a couple hours drive north of the Iowa border and a short drive from the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport.
The RNC’s Midwest Region also includes Ohio, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa and Illinois. Minnesota last hosted the conference in 2001, and then-Vice President Dick Cheney was the keynote speaker.