Democrats eye 15 cities for 2016 convention


We bet this guy’s going to be speaking at the 2016 Democratic convention (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The Democratic National Committee has asked 15 cities to submit bids to host the party’s 2016 presidential nominating convention, a committee official said Tuesday.

Democrats have asked for formal proposals from Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Miami, Nashville, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City.

CNN first reported the list of contenders.

In a letter to mayors of the cities in contention, DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) said the party will consider the message hosting the convention in a given location would send to labor unions, a major Democratic constituency.

The DNC goes out of its way to host events at hotels where workers are represented by labor unions. That could hurt cities like Atlanta, Detroit, Indianapolis, Miami, Nashville, Orlando, Phoenix and Salt Lake City, all of which are in states with Right to Work laws that drive down union membership. Nevada also has a Right to Work law, but unions representing workers in mega-hotels on the Las Vegas strip remain a powerful force in state politics.

“[B]ecause of the significant security and construction related issues that we will face, we also look for a city with strong relationships with organized labor and those they represent,” Wasserman Schultz wrote.

Democrats will also consider a city’s ability to come up with the tens of millions of dollars it takes to rent out a large enough facility to handle delegates, provide security and adequate transportation options. The money question will be especially pertinent because the host committee in Charlotte, where Democrats convened in 2012, came up more than $10 million short of its fundraising goals.

Columbus has been pushing particularly hard for the right to host a convention. City leaders held a reception at a DNC meeting in Washington in February, and at a Republican National Committee meeting in January.

But Columbus didn’t make the Republican cut: The RNC said earlier this month it would choose from between Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City and Las Vegas. Officials from the RNC have already visited three of those cities to assess their technical capabilities, ahead of formal site selection committee visits later this month.

The list of cities under consideration for the Democratic convention might not be final: Other cities can ask to be sent a request for proposal. But those seeking the spotlight a convention shines on a host city in 2016 will only have until close of business on June 6 to reply to the DNC.

Reid Wilson covers state politics and policy for the Washington Post's GovBeat blog. He's a former editor in chief of The Hotline, the premier tip sheet on campaigns and elections, and he's a complete political junkie.
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