Minnesota currently has the nation's longest streak of voting for Democratic presidential candidates. But Republicans think they can end that streak, and hosting their 2008 convention here might help.
"In a way, it's a surprise because I really thought the Democrats would be more likely to come than the Republicans," says U of M history professor emeritus Hy Berman.
Minnesota is known as the home of former vice president Hubert H. Humphrey and late Senator Paul Wellstone. It was also the only state to vote for hometown candidate Walter Mondale in 1984.
But Berman says Minnesota is more of a purple state these days, rather than a solid blue state. The same could be said for Iowa and Wisconsin.
"Thus, there is perhaps some gain to be made by Republicans by holding a convention in Minnesota," Berman says.
The last presidential convention in Minnesota was in 1892. Republicans nominated incumbent Benjamin Harrison, who would eventually lose to Grover Cleveland.
But that convention was perhaps better remembered for something else.
"The delegation left disgruntled, saying there was nothing for them to eat here except beans," Berman says.
Hopefully organizers at the Xcel Energy Center will learn from history's mistakes.
"I think the delegates to the 2008 convention will find better cuisine," Berman says.
Richard Nixon was the last Republican presidential candidate to win Minnesota's electoral votes. That was in 1972.
For the most part, Republicans have not done well here in presidential races since 1932. However, Berman says Minnesota did not support any Democrats for president between 1860 and 1932.
By Joe Fryer, KARE 11 News
(Copyright 2006 by KARE 11. All Rights Reserved.)