Some Republican U.S Senate candidates had American flags in their hospitality suites at the Minnesota Republican Party state convention in St. Cloud. They all brought plenty of signs. Kurt Bills brought a giant campaign school bus.

The school teacher-turned U.S. Senate candidate emblazoned the bus with red-white-and-blue and his pledge to “take ECON 101 to Washington.”

“I don’t have a doubt that he’s the kind of guy we want in Congress,” said Nancy Massey, Bills’ volunteer coordinator.

Massey folded campaign T-shirts a few feet away from the school bus, parked among tables and chairs for 300 visitors.

As she folded shirts, convention visitors peeked in. “Wow,” one said. “A bus! Look, he’s got a bus.”

The hospitality suites provided the best chance for the candidates to meet and persuade more than 1,000 delegates who will ultimately select a GOP nominee to challenge U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat. Candidates and their families hosted breakfasts, had string quartets and passed out campaign shirts and stickers.

By lunchtime, candidates Pete Hegseth had Dan Severson had folded up their hospitality suites, shifting the food and resources to their respective “war rooms.”

Severson’s staffers were busy assembling fliers inside their war room, buzzing around with headset two-way radios.

Hegseth’s mother, Penny, was relaxing outside the darkened hospitality suite with the candidate’s wife and their toddler son, Gunner.

“We are just having a good time, waiting for the fun to begin,” said Penny Hegseth, wearing a button that said, “Pete’s mom.”

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