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Less Grand Old Party?

The GOP?? reputation as the party of business may be dented next week, at least on one front: the party scene.

The Sunlight Foundation?? list of parties and receptions surrounding the GOP convention comes to a little over 16 pages. That?? a far cry from the more than 30 pages of events the group listed for the Democrats?gathering in Denver.

Certainly, the group's list is incomplete, and plenty of parties are on tap for the Twin Cities, including a reception for "transportation policy leaders" by airline, railroad and shipping concerns; a Monday night party for Republican governors cosponsored by the electric and nuclear industries; and a diabetes luncheon sponsored by Eli Lilly, which co-markets diabetes drug Byetta.

At the same time, some companies have pursued a sort of even-handedness when it comes to their convention efforts. Medical-device maker Medtronic, for example, is based in Minneapolis and plans to host a reception for delegates from key states where it does business, but it chose to be a corporate sponsor for both conventions, and sent an executive to take part in a health-policy forum in Denver. Blue Shield of California, which gave $100,000 to the Democratic convention, also gave to the GOP, albeit less, a spokesman says. And AT&T will be nearly as ubiquitous in Minneapolis-St. Paul as it was in Denver, with at least nine receptions and parties planned, for everyone from African-American and Hispanic voters to the Georgia and Michigan delegations.

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