Friday, December 15, 2006

It's 50-50

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

More today on concerns that Denver chances of hosting the 2008 Democrat Convention may be decreasing:

Mile-high hopes are dimming that Denver will secure the 2008 Democratic convention.

Democrats posted against-the-odds victories in several statewide elections last month in the West, making Denver an attractive choice for a party looking to expand on recent gains in the Republican-leaning region. But even once-optimistic Colorado boosters are lowering their odds to 50-50 that Denver will beat out New York City for the convention.

Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar said this week that in private conversations Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean had expressed legitimate concerns about whether Denver can raise the necessary $55 million and put on a seamless convention.

Colorado Democratic Party Chairwoman Pat Waak said Friday that whether Democrats will pick Denver "comes down to the practicality of (Denver) being able to do this."

"There probably is some sentimental favoritism toward Denver because the West is the new Democratic ground, and Colorado did so well in the last election," Waak said. "But everything I've heard is that this costs a lot of money to do and obviously New York is a much bigger city with a much bigger corporate base to raise money from."
Democrats are trying to avoid last-minute problems with fundraising and logistics that have plagued past conventions. Western Democratic governors, including Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, have pledged to help with fundraising, but convention organizers declined to say how much money they have raised.

"You have to understand we're competing against a city that has 8 million people," said Elbra Wedgeworth, leader for Denver's host committee. The city's population is about 557,000. "We've raised a significant amount of money for Denver, and we feel we still have a competitive bid," Wedgeworth said.

It's not money alone that raises questions about Denver's ability to put on the convention. Salazar said Dean also questioned him about whether Denver can handle the 35,000 convention-goers. Denver needs to prove it has about 19,000 hotel rooms, union support and adequate security _ hurdles that many believe New York can more easily clear.

Salazar, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and Colorado Gov.-elect Bill Ritter talked again with Dean on Friday. Salazar spokesman Cody Wertz said the three "came away feeling hopeful" that they can alleviate Dean's concerns about Denver.

And from Denver Host committee executive director Debbie Willhite:
"It has always been 50-50," she said. "But the tie will go to us. There has always been this perception that New York can raise the money very, very quickly - and maybe they can. But you don't have to raise it very, very quickly."

Willhite said the host committee has a timeline for meeting the Democrats' budget needs. Still, she acknowledged Denver is short of the fundraising mark.

"Would we like to have all $80 million in commitments right now? Sure," she said. "But we don't need them all right now."

Denver's bid has been up and down all year, so why should the last weekend be any different.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like things are a little brighter in the Friday evening news out of Denver!

Also sounds a LOT more upbeat than the Washington Post article.

I can't wait until we're out of the "wait and see" mode and onto the PLANNING mode!!!

GoOOoOOoOOOOOo Denver!