GOP moves to online party conventions

Minn. Republican Party chair Jennifer Carnahan greets the crowd.
Minnesota Republican Party chair Jennifer Carnahan greets the crowd at the GOP Election Night Party in Bloomington, Minn. Minnesota Republicans will hold their local party conventions online instead of in-person because of the coronavirus.
Caroline Yang for MPR News 2018

Updated: 1:35 p.m.

Minnesota Republicans will hold their local party conventions online instead of in-person because of the coronavirus.

“During these trying and ever-changing times, it is important that we continue moving forward and complete party business required of us to endorse candidates, elect presidential electors and have a voice at our national convention in August,” said Minnesota Republican Party chair Jennifer Carnahan, in a statement. “But it is crucial that while conducting party and political business, we do our part to keep our delegates, candidates, activists and the general public safe.”

Wednesday’s announcement by the GOP comes one day after the Minnesota DFL’s similar move.

Both political parties hold local and regional conventions to endorse candidates, pass resolutions, and elect delegates to higher-level conventions later in the year.

Republicans have moved their local conventions online. The GOP has made no decision yet concerning its congressional district conventions, which were scheduled to take place in April and early May, or its statewide convention, scheduled for May 15-16 in Rochester.

The GOP will revisit its plans for the congressional district and state conventions in two weeks.

The DFL moved its local and congressional district conventions online, and will make a decision later about its state convention.

This week’s announcements of online conventions by the DFL and GOP replaces their decisions last week to postpone most of their conventions because of the coronavirus. The new, more stringent move comes amid a broader societal shift away from in-person events, which has included the state of Minnesota shutting down schools, restaurants and bars to try to prevent transmission of the coronavirus.

Other aspects of politics have also been impacted by COVID-19. Political offices have closed, rallies have been cancelled, and at least one Minnesota politician has offered to refund political contributions to people who find themselves in financial need.

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