"The buzz we get from supporters is that they are very eager to come to St. Paul and very eager to send a strong message."
Why We Support Ron Paul
By David Brown
Maverick GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul has booked an arena in Minneapolis for a "mini-convention" that could steal some of John McCain's thunder just days before he accepts the Republican nomination.
A Paul campaign aide said the Texas congressman hopes to pack about 11,000 supporters into the Williams Arena at the University of Minnesota on Sept. 2, which coincides with the second day of the Republican National Convention at the Xcel Energy Center in neighboring St. Paul.
Paul, 72, will announce details for the rally Thursday at the start of the Texas Republican Convention in Houston.
The campaign hopes the daylong event will "send a message to the Republican Party," Paul campaign spokesman Jesse Benton tells the Tribune-Review.
"There is a growing surge of people out there just craving" for a return "to traditional American government, limited government that places personal liberty first and places an emphasis on personal responsibility and essentially gets out of the way after that," Benton said. "The buzz we get from supporters is that they are very eager to come to St. Paul and very eager to send a strong message."
McCain spokesman Jeff Sadosky declined comment. Paul has won 35 convention delegates, but was not invited to speak in St. Paul because he refuses to endorse McCain, according to his campaign.