This past summer, Minneapolis grabbed national headlines for its crumbling infrastructure. Late next summer, the nation’s eyes will return to Minnesota again, for the Republican National Convention. Although I was there in 2000 and in 2004, it seems more likely that you’ll find me in Charlottesville, VA come next Labor Day than in Minneapolis, MN. I am a victim of political geography.
It’s not that I don’t want to attend the next GOP convention, nor that I don’t have a candidate yet, which will keep me from becoming a delegate in 2008. I support Rudy Giuliani and want to do everything I can to make sure he represents the party as its nominee next year. I was an alternate delegate for George W. Bush in 2000, where I was able to get the 15,000 assembled Republicans to start a “We Love Dick” chant to welcome our vice presidential nominee.
At the time, I lived in Congressman Brad Sherman’s San Fernando Valley district, and, as I later discovered, my selection as a delegate came on account of my age. I was 25 and the GOP had a quota for delegates under a certain age much like Democrats have quotas for Black, Latino, gays and lesbian delegates.
Nevertheless, I’m an experienced delegate! So, as the deadline to apply for the 2008 Convention approached, I asked my friend who is tied into the Giuliani campaign what I’d need to do to attend. “You can come as my guest,” he told me. When I told him I wanted to be a delegate, he laughed and asked me if I knew where I lived.
I may be represented in Congress by Rep. Henry Waxman, one the House’s most liberal Democrats. But for a district with a reputation for being one of the most safely Democratic in the country, California’s 30th sure has alot of high-powered Republicans.
Despite its reputation, the district, which covers West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Brentwood and Malibu, might be the most highly-contested seat for Republican delegate selection in the state – if not the country. And it’s nowhere near anything known as Reagan Country.
Actually, Nancy Reagan does live in the district. As does California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, former gubernatorial nominee Bill Simon – Giuliani’s California Campaign Chairman. It’s not just celebs.
According to Fundrace, a number of people in the district have already maxed out their contributions to the Giuliani campaign. They include hotelier Barron Hilton (no word on his grand-daughter’s contribution history), real estate developers Rob Lowe and Fred Wehba, former Los Angeles mayoral candidate Steve Soboroff, California Redistricting Campaign chairman Bill Mundell, the former Mr. Arianna, Michael Huffington, Paramount Pictures CEO Brad Grey and Dole Foods mogul David Murdoch, to name a few. Add actor and humorist Ben Stein to the list of contributors and potential delegates, and well, maybe my friend has a point.
So I’m not even bothering to hedge my bets by submitting a futile application to be a Rudy Delegate which is too bad, because I hear even the airport can be interesting in Minneapolis – that’s a joke. But I have learned that your chances of attending a political convention don’t have as much to do with how many Democrats or how many Republicans live in your neighborhood. What matters most is how rich they are!