Happenings Thursday in the 2000 Campaign:
Continuing their recent efforts to make political inroads, a group of top state Republicans met with black community leaders in a St. Paul church.
In a cordial but arms-length discussion, the two groups talked about the "suburbanization" of black neighborhoods, racial profiling and whether some state projects billed as helping inner-city neighborhoods are doing more harm than good.
"I know that all a lot of you learned about this community was how to stay out of it," Yusef Mgeni, president of the St. Paul-based Urban Coalition told six white state lawmakers.
The Rev. Devin Miller, executive director of New Beginning Center, the nonprofit community service agency that hosted the meeting, asked whether the group made the overture simply because elections are coming.
"It's not about this November," said House Majority Leader Tim Pawlenty, R-Eagan. "If we do this genuinely ... maybe in six or eight years we'll be talking about a political alliance."
The meeting was organized by Lucky Rosenbloom, founder of the month-old Minnesota Black Republican Coalition and a candidate for the state House of Representatives.
GOP leaders are giving U.S. Sen. Rod Grams a few minutes in the spotlight.
Grams, who is up for re-election, will give the National Republican Radio Address this Saturday following President Clinton's weekly address.
Grams, the chief author of a $500-per-child tax credit enacted in 1997, plans to talk about Congress' recent votes to repeal provisions in the tax code that require married couples to pay more and take a chunk out of inheritances.
The address begins at 10:06 a.m. and can be heard on ABC Radio affiliates.
Grams has given the address twice before, in January 1999 and in the summer of 1994, his campaign spokesman Kurt Zellers said.
Zellers said the address will be aired on at least 30 stations in Minnesota.
The congressional candidate who sued northern Minnesota Republicans over an endorsement mix-up has decided to run as an independent.
But Michael Darling of Cambridge still wants a court to decide whether he deserved the endorsement he claims rank-and-file Republicans gave him at an April gathering in the 8th Congressional District. A trial is scheduled for October.
"The reason I'm still carrying on this suit is due to a matter of principle only," Darling said.
GOP leaders say the endorsement was invalid because the vote only signified a general show of support. Bob Lemen, of Grand Rapids, was picked to be the party's candidate at a later convention.
But Darling doesn't want to miss his chance to take on Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar. By switching, Darling won't have to win a primary to get to the general election.
"I'll be there in November no matter what," he said.
U.S. Rep. Martin Sabo's press secretary will leave the Democrat's staff to be the Minnesota spokeswoman for Al Gore's presidential campaign.
Bethany Young, 26, will take an unpaid leave to work for the vice president beginning Aug. 1. She will return to Sabo's office in November.
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