Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Congressional Quarterly convention overview

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

The Congressional Quarterly just published a nice overview of the 2008 convention site selection process for both parties. Some info of note:

The DNC is one step ahead of the RNC, having winnowed its original list. Yet the 11 cities that have expressed interest more than doubles the list of just five interested cities at this point prior to the 2004 election. “We’re very pleased with the unprecedented interest in hosting the Democratic National Convention,” said Vega.
That seems to be a bit of spin coming out of the DNC. From the excellent GWU Democracy in Action website covering the 2004 site selection process (link is also in sidebar), we find that the DNC announced on Feb 28, 2002, that 10 cities were to receive RFPs to host the convention. So while 11 is greater than 10, it's not what I would call "unprecedented".

Back to the CQ article:

The Democrats also have gotten a jump on establishing their convention schedule: The DNC announced last summer that the party would meet Aug. 25-28, 2008, in its selected city. Since the party defending the White House has traditionally gone second, the DNC’s dates would require the RNC to schedule its convention in September.

The Democrats’ early marker on the 2008 calendar is aimed at preventing what happened in 2004. The Republicans moved first and scheduled their convention to begin the last week in August. To avoid competing with the summer Olympics that month, the Democrats held their convention four weeks earlier — which gave the GOP an extra month to attack Democratic nominee John Kerry and shape the message of its own convention.

I'm going to write more about the GOP date decision soon. It will be interesting to see what they decide.

While mainly about advertising the party and its candidates, the modern convention is seen by many local officials as a status-booster for the host city — with thousands of politicians from around the country talking about how “great your city is,” said political scientist Brad Henry of the University of California at Berkeley.

That is the lure that makes potential host cities brook specific and often expensive requirements for space, security, and transportation among other elements, as well as road closures and other inconveniences to local residents. In return for some of these negative aspects, the city gets a surge in economic activity as well as bragging rights.

The Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University analyzed the costs of the 2004 conventions. Their analysis showed that the Democratic convention generated a net $14.8 million for Boston after figuring in losses from tourists and commuters who avoided the city during the event. The institute estimated that the Republican convention would generate $184 million for New York City.

You have to take these numbers with a grain of salt, especially the pre-convention estimate for NY. I'll have to see if there were any post-convention estimates done for NY in 2004.


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