MSP airport: Next stop for Idaho GOP 

State delegates prepare for national conclaves

Now that the state conventions are over, Idaho's 23 delegates to the Democratic National Convention get to plan a late August trip to Denver. They could go shopping in Denver's LoDo neighborhood, attend Western-themed parties paid for by corporate lobbyists and maybe take a side trip to Vail for some mountain biking.

Idaho Republicans, on the other hand, may want to be a little more low-key as they fly into the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for the Republican National Convention on Sept. 1.

While Sen. Larry Craig, according to his press secretary Jacq Landa, will not be attending this year's GOP Convention as he has in past years, Jon Stewart will be in St. Paul and may be looking to pick on other Idahoans using the airport rest rooms. The 32 Idaho Republicans heading to MSP include 17 John McCain delegates—the majority of whom are taking their spouses along as alternates.

Sen. Bart Davis, a McCain delegate, will head to Minneapolis a week early to participate in the national GOP platform committee. His wife, Marion, will join him as an alternate. Davis was in the Romney camp, but is happy to support McCain.

"It is no secret that I had a presidential candidate preference other than Sen. McCain. He was not my first choice, but he is my choice among the choices."

Also nominated for Minneapolis are six Idaho Ron Paul pledges who will be expected to carry some water for Paul, despite his terminated candidacy, and six uncommitted Republicans. Three party leaders are representing the Idaho GOP.

If they are feeling wary of the Twin Cities' airport, Eau Claire, Wisc., and St. Cloud, Minn., have airports within driving distance to the convention, but airfares are nearly double from Boise.

While the Idaho GOP delegates are mainly party stalwarts, with a handful of Paul activists thrown in, Idaho Democrats are sending a slate of largely neophyte political actors to Denver. And they harbor no doubts that Obama is their first choice for president.

State Democrats have touted the diversity of their slate. It's stacked with blacks, Latinos, gays and Native Americans, and a physicist from Calcutta. Republicans, said lobbyist Roy Eiguren who put together the list of McCain delegates, went with stalwart McCain supporters and Constitutional officers. And women.

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