Friday, January 12, 2007

Two Senators and Denver's bid

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

George Merritt of the Denver Post notes how two Colorado Senators bookended Denver's bid to host the 2008 Democratic Convention:

[the] idea was then aided by one current and one former U.S. senator from Colorado who, unbeknownst to each other, both influenced Dean's choice.

Dean saw the possibilities of holding the convention in the West thanks to a memo from former Sen. Gary Hart, but then Denver nearly lost the convention more than once. It finally took the efforts of current Sen. Ken Salazar to save the bid.

"I think the host committee, particularly with the help of Ken Salazar, really rallied up between the time Dean postponed his decision and now," said Mike Stratton, a member of the DNC presidential primary commission. "Denver was probably going down. But they really, really rallied up, they got questions answered, raised more money, got commitments for money."

More on the Hart memo, also from the Post:
For nearly 25 years, Gary Hart has pushed Democrats to switch their political focus from regaining the South to winning the West. Perhaps, then, it's fitting that the former senator received some of the credit for the Democratic National Convention's landing in Denver.

Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said Hart's paper on how the Democrats might go about capturing the West - and therefore the White House - made a difference in choosing Denver over New York.

"I have long believed that the essence of a Democratic victory goes through the West," Dean said. "If we are going to have a national party, we are going to have to have Westerners to vote Democratic again on a reliable basis."
"This is structural change. It could influence the presidential pick," Hart said Thursday. "Every candidate in both parties will have to address Western issues, which aren't race and cultural. They are resource issues, like energy development and property rights."

Hart says he gave his Western strategy paper to Dean in 2005 - through Colorado Democratic Party chairwoman Pat Waak - but he and Dean couldn't agree on the exact date.

The last paragraph of Hart's memo, which can be found here, says:
The national Democratic Party should look Westward. The South will return to the Democratic Party only when economic downturn requires it. Meanwhile, the West provides the Democratic Party's greatest opportunity and represents its greatest future. National Party leaders must develop a plan to win the West in the early twenty-first century or risk settling into minority status for many years to come.
I started this blog with a picture of Gary Hart from the 1984 convention. Sounds like Denver's bid started with Hart also.