Sunday, August 20, 2006

Money now becomes the issue - or does it?

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

The site visits are over, the receptions are over. None of the three finalists have any show-stoppers when it comes to facilities, and two of the cities have a great political advantage - they're not New York. The Denver Post headlines an article today saying money is the issue; but reading more closely, the picture is less clear:

The three cities vying to host the 2008 Democratic National Convention will have to show fundraising commitments as the national officials look to narrow their choice to two next month. Denver, Minneapolis-St. Paul and New York have proved they can meet the basic logistical needs to host more than 30,000 delegates when they nominate the party's next presidential candidate. But whichever city is chosen will have to raise tens of millions of dollars.

As the three cities entertained the Democratic National Committee delegates at the Hilton Chicago this weekend, they heard from national officials that it is time to prove their fundraising muster. "It's really no surprise," said Chris Gates, a co-chair of Denver's host committee. He said now that the Democrats have evaluated each city for its facilities, it only makes sense to verify financing.

So money is the issue?

Questions about New York's fundraising abilities were answered about as quickly as "Sopranos" star Lorraine Bracco introduced billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the city's reception Thursday. "He's smart. He's good-looking. He's rich," Bracco said.

But Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul have turned to regional support, banking on the Mountain West or the Midwest, respectively. "This is truly about bringing this convention to the West, not just Denver," host committee vice-chair Dan Slater told Western representatives Friday. And Montana Democratic Party vice chair Tracy Velazquez said, "Unless the National Democrats come out West in 2008, we are never going to win."

Minneapolis-St. Paul's bid is cut from the same mold. Where Denver is selling the Mountain West, Minneapolis-St. Paul is pitching the states along the Mississippi River. "It's time for the Democratic Party to control the heartland of this country," Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak told delegates Friday. "You win the Mississippi River, you win the presidency."

Strange quotes here, as they address political support, not money support.
The final decision is ultimately Howard Dean's. The national party chair did not attend any of the functions the three cities hosted, but he met privately with representatives. "He's keeping his cards close to his vest," said Denver City Councilwoman and host committee president Elbra Wedgeworth. "He's saying that it is going to come down to a technical decision."
So money is not the issue, technical logistics are? As DenverDan implied in the comments, a technical decision could cover lots of things, including logistics, money, politics.
Wedgeworth said the Democratic National Committee will narrow the field to two in September. For Denver, that means proving it can raise more than $70 million - including federal grants for security. Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper told delegates that "we are going to need your help."

Hickenlooper has pledged not to spend public dollars on Denver's bid, and he has already asked other Mountain West states to help raise money.

Dean says its a "technical decision", and the cities were told to get their money story in order. Unfortunately, money is the one topic that will be hardest to get any information on, so it may be a guessing game for a bit.


DenverDan said...

I read that Post article at work today...It made me concerned with how Denver would raise that much if none of it was to be public money...I doubt western states are going to pitch in much for something that would benefit mainly Denver.

I think it's ambiguous what Dean meant by "techinical decision." Really, I don't think he meant facilities and such. Rather, I believe he's implying the opposite--that it would be a political or possibly emotional decision, whatever that might be. Yes, he's keeping his hand chested... I can't help but wonder if a surprise is in store around the corner. Maybe a NY convention isn't yet out of the question. Though, I believe that would be a grave mistake.

I think Minneapolis stock just rose too... Minneapolis has a strong history of Democratic leadership (Humphrey, Mondale, Wellstone), and a "technical decision" could mean an emotional calling back to those roots.

Matt said...

To me, "technical" should mean the opposite of "emotional". But you're right, it could mean more than just logistics, to include political or financial concerns. Maybe it means he's putting a spreadsheet together - who knows. But I know one thing - if this convention goes to NY, that will be a major shock to a lot of people.

Anonymous said...

If the convention were to go to New York, it would be evidence that, for all of the talk at the top of the DNC, things haven't changed much up there...

Anonymous said...

Rocky Mountain High! Go Denver!