Keeping tabs: RNC winners, losers
By RANDY FURST and EMMA L. CAREW, STAR TRIBUNE STAFF WRITERS
The elephant that comes loping into the Twin Cities next week -- bringing with it an estimated 35,000 visitors -- is going to enrich the pockets of many a Minnesota business.
That's the message from boosters of the Republican National Convention, who cite a report from the state's Department of Employment and Economic Development predicting a $162.4 million boost to the state's economy from the convention.
But other economists suggest that this is an elephant-size exaggeration, as this GOP confab displaces as much business as it brings in or simply fills the coffers of chain-run hotels, restaurants or other companies whose headquarters are elsewhere.
Still, roughly 16,000 hotel rooms are said to be booked, hundreds of parties will be held and a slew of waiters and waitresses will be serving up booze to woozy delegates and lobbyists (and, dare we say, journalists?) into the early morning hours. And some major companies, such as utility Xcel Energy Inc. and telecommunications firm Qwest Communications, have their hands deep in both conventions.
We examine some of the expected winners and losers at next week's extravaganza.
On the Plus Side:
No strangers to playing political events, the Twin Cities-based 10-person band sent out promotional materials to folks they met when they played at President Bush's 2005 inauguration and other state Republican leaders. That paid off, and the band, which plays a range from " '40s swing to top 40," booked at least four gigs for convention week, and had offers for others. And are any of the band members hesitant to perform again for the Grand Old Party? "When it comes to doing something historical, we're more patriotic than political," band vocalist and manager Melanie Moos said.
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