Sunday, July 16, 2006

Denver looking for money from other Western states

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

Denver is trying to get some money from neighbor states to help finance its bid to host the 2008 Democratic National Convention:

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper is asking governors of four other Western states to raise millions of dollars to bring the Democratic National Convention to Denver. While there is enthusiastic support for a Rocky Mountain convention in theory, governors are harder to pin down on dollars.

"What I said to John (Hickenlooper) is, 'Giddy-up, I'm in,"' Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer said. It's high time that Democrats across America see the kind of Democrats that we have in the West." While Schweitzer was ready to ride with the convention, he flinched at a $6 million figure tossed out by Hickenlooper on Tuesday. "Well, I'm a poor boy here in Montana," he said. "I told him it's going to be tough for us to round up a lot of money, but we would help however we could."

A private committee working to lure the Democrats vowed to cover the estimated $80 million cost with federal security funds and private donations. Hickenlooper has vowed not to use taxpayer dollars if Denver wins the bid, pledging instead to raise money around the region. He told City Council members Tuesday that he has spoken to the governors of Arizona, Montana, New Mexico and Wyoming and hopes to bring them to Denver next month. "This is not just about Denver," Hickenlooper told council members. "It's really about Colorado, and it's actually about the Rocky Mountain West."
"It isn't just about fundraising for the convention. It's about a vision of a convention that represents not just Colorado but the entire Rocky Mountain West," Hickenlooper's spokeswoman, Lindy Eichenbaum Lent, said. "It's a platform to build more collaborative dialogues and efforts among the Western states."
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano also expressed support without committing to any actual money. This is good move by Denver. Even if it only gets a small amount of money, by promoting the idea of a regionally supported convention, it is assuring more supporters for the bid, giving Denver a better chance of getting the convention.