Tuesday, September 09, 2008

2012 Site Selection Update

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at http://www.DemocraticConventionWatch.com

More 2012 convention site selection stirrings. First, an update on Indianapolis:

State GOP officials say Indianapolis has it: the volunteers, the hotel rooms and the appeal to host the 2012 Republican National Convention. But whether they're ready to push for it is another question.

Indiana Republican Party Chairman Murray Clark said that having the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis makes things a bit more complicated.

"I'm more convinced than ever that Indianapolis would be a superb place for a national convention for either party," he said. "Having said that, the 2012 Super Bowl obviously is a big deal for the community, and we certainly wouldn't want to be at cross-purposes with the Super Bowl.


"We have been encouraged to bid for the 2012 convention by some of the leadership in the party," said Mike McDaniel, chairman of the Indiana Republican Party when it put in a bid to host the 2000 RNC. "They see Indianapolis and Indiana as being readily suited to hold an event of that kind because we have a track record of doing big events well." - IndyStar.com
Washington, DC is also being floated:

Following the national political conventions, talk in Washington (or connecting airports) has been unanimous: Democrats and Republicans are united in their displeasure over the convention sites. Much of the talk, however, has not been about anything substantive involving the actual conventions. Instead, conversation has centered on logistics — journalists, delegates, and campaign or party staff having problems finding suitable flights, staying in hotel rooms far from convention sites, and massive amounts of money spent on cab fare.

Most attendees understand the nature of presidential politics. Political parties hold conventions in cities which either fit a theme, such as the 2004 Republican convention held in New York, or large cities in important states and media markets. Denver and Minneapolis/St. Paul were both picked for a reason — votes.


Complaints about Denver and Minneapolis/St. Paul point out an important fact — from airports and public transportation to hotel occupancy and convention space itself, few American cities have the infrastructure necessary to successfully host a party political convention. Outside of our largest cities or those that have hosted an NCAA Final Four or Super Bowl, political conventions require more than most cities can handle. Thus, many conventioneers stayed in Littleton instead of Denver, or Eden Prairie and not Minneapolis or St. Paul.

Colorado and Minnesota are important states whose electoral votes are up for grabs. Their selections as convention sites should be no surprise. What is surprising, however, is that cities uniquely qualified to host either political convention — cities in major swing media markets — have not been considered.

Las Vegas specializes in conventions. Few, if any, cities in the world have more hotel rooms than Las Vegas. Hosting a party convention in Las Vegas would not present the challenges most other American cities would face. And there's no question about Nevada’s growing importance electorally.

For obvious reasons, Las Vegas has never been seriously considered. While many Members of Congress and Senators attend various conventions and events in Las Vegas, a party convention in “Sin City” may cause more anxiety for party leaders than a Loretta Sanchez fundraiser at the Playboy Mansion.

That leaves what may be the most uniquely qualified, always overlooked convention site: Washington, D.C.

Perhaps because most candidates, presidential or otherwise, are running to “change” Washington, it is not seriously considered. Yet for every reason past choices have caused consternation, however, the District of Columbia makes sense.

Washington may be the city best suited to host a convention. It is bursting with hotels. A Travelocity search shows 300 hotels in the area, including major marquee hotels suitable for large political events. Its public transportation system is among the best in the nation, moving thousands of people from different locations with ease. The Verizon Center and convention center are both centrally located. There are three airports into which visitors may fly.

Moreover, for any ego-centric candidates, there are three major sports stadiums capable of hosting an acceptance speech!

Washington is logistically simple for the campaigns and party organizations. With a convention in Washington there is no need for an entire party committee to go through the trouble, and not insignificant expense, of temporarily relocating.

These same logistics benefit the media, who have news bureaus and political reporters, producers and bookers in Washington. Want to make a political reporter happy? Tell them that during the hustle and bustle of the convention they'll be able to see their kids at night. Want to make their bosses happy? Tell them how much money they will save by not relocating a significant portion of their news team. This is not to suggest such considerations could lead to better coverage, but ...

The biggest knock on Washington hosting a convention, aside from anything that includes the word “lobbyist,” is the brutal summer heat. While anyone making that argument has a legitimate point, summers in New Orleans and Houston, two previous convention sites, are not any cooler.

With the logistical and financial benefits, Washington would seem a natural choice for one of the parties to host their 2012 or 2016 convention. More importantly, with Virginia becoming a decidedly purple state, Northern Virginia, located squarely in the Washington media market, is more important than ever. -
National Review Online
Washington will never be picked for a convention. Which party would want to be marked as such Washington insiders that they even had their convention there.

See previous posts on Atlanta and Dallas.