For Sarah Palin's Wednesday stop in Minneapolis, the masses will come first, to be followed by the moneyed.
The popular and polarizing 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate will attend a free, massive rally and a high-dollar fundraiser to benefit U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann and the Minnesota Republican Party.
The Republican Party rally at the Minneapolis Convention Center starts at 2 p.m., but doors open at noon. GOP officials say they have handed out 10,000 rally tickets and have no more.
The rally will be streamed live on the Star Tribune's website, www.startribune.com/stribstream .
Palin and Bachmann will address the crowd, as will Gov. Tim Pawlenty and other Republican glitterati. Conservative media star Sean Hannity will be on hand to sign his new book and do his television show from the convention center.
The rally tickets were free. Tickets to the afternoon fundraiser cost $500, with prices skyrocketing to $10,000 for a "private reception with photo opportunity." Couples who shelled out $10,000 also got to fill a table for 10 at the Minneapolis Hilton.
Bachmann's re-election campaign will get the first $4,800 of any money donated from an individual. Cash gifts beyond that will go to the state GOP.
Democrats and unions are also trying to capitalize on Palin's appearance.
U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., sent out a fundraising plea asking supporters to "help me send a strong message to Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin, to tell them that their fear mongering is not welcome in my district." Democratic congressional candidate Tarryl Clark invited supporters to post mock photos of themselves with Palin and Bachmann on her campaign website. Clark also has two Wednesday campaign stops planned in the district she hopes to wrest from Bachmann this fall.
The DFL and AFL-CIO have planned counter-rallies around the Palin event Wednesday.
Rachel E. Stassen-Berger