ROCHESTER, Minn. - The Minnesota GOP State Convention is in full swing at the Mayo Civic Center, bringing thousands of people to the Med City this weekend.
While the convention is all about choosing candidates for this year's midterm election, it's about more than politics for the many Rochester businesses that stand to benefit from increased foot traffic. The event is drawing over 2,200 delegates and alternates to the Med City, a figure that doesn't include their families or the staff needed to make the convention possible.
Many of those folks will need a place to stay, meals, parking, and more, with some likely to partake in a meeting over coffee or drinks. KIMT Political Analyst Rayce Hardy, who is also a professor of economics, says even a conservative estimate of $50 being spent per person would mean hundreds of thousands of dollars flowing into local businesses.
"When you're bringing in several hundred thousand dollars in the course of a couple of days, I tell you, if I'm a bar or restaurant within walking distance, boy am I going to be happy about the nightlife," Hardy said. "That's several hundred people who decide to hang around Downtown Rochester that weren't going to be there, and most of them are going to spend something."
"That spending by one person becomes a business's income, and then they spend that money, and it just multiplies through the economy. So anytime there's an event at the Mayo Civic Center, it's good for the city."
This year's convention comes after the Minnesota GOP was forced to cancel the 2020 edition of the event, which was also supposed to be held in Rochester, because of coronavirus. Another politically-related boost is just ahead for Med City businesses, with the Minnesota DFL's state convention set to kick off at the Mayo Civic Center next weekend.