Thursday, December 29, 2005

Thoughts on a Texas convention

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Burnt Orange Report has an interesting thread discussing the pros and cons of a Texas city hosting the 2008 Democratic National Convention, as well as comments on other potential cities. Some of the comments on Texas cities:

Having a Democratic Convention in Dallas would probably indirectly help out the local parties, but I don't think Dallas is on shortlist for the Convention. Houston might have a reasonable chance of getting the convention. I don't see San Antonio getting the convention at all.


2008 in Houston? It'd obviously be at the Toyota Center, but they could spin off some ancillary events at the Convention Center that's within walking distance. Also, the conditions which led to our withdrawal from consideration in 2004 don't seem as applicable for 2008 and the sting of missing out on the Olympics might lead to a sizable push by Team White to show off the finished work on some of the changes we've built around town. At worst, I don't see how we can be lower than SLC on the pecking order.

My hunch is that all the Texas locations would be a longshot, though. I've got to think Houston at least puts in a proposal.


I don't think the DNC convention should be in Texas. That's like the RNC hosting their convention in San Francisco. Just plain doesn't make sense.


Where better than to demonstrate how the Republicans have screwed everyone over, starting with Texans? Houston's Party (Democrat & in the literal sense) infrastructure can handle the task.


Hillary will never allow the convention to come to such a red state either.


Seriously, to this native Texian, ex-New Orleanian and present beachside Californian the suggestion of the 2008 DNC in the "heart of darkness" may not be as crazy as it first sounds--for me, more than just an excuse to come back to see the folks, hassle Republicans (like shooting fish in a barrel lately) and munch on bar-b-que and creole cuisine (still my favorite). After all, Houston has a very popular Democratic mayor and Dallas has a no-nonsense Democratic lesbian Sheriff. Dallas County (and I believe Harris also) is trending Democratic. And the Republicans will love it or, as Harry Truman said: "we will make them love it!"

I agree that a Texas convention is probably a long shot. But if Houston decided to make a serious bid, they would have to be considered a contender. There's a lot of good will towards Houston over the way they welcomed Katrina evacuees, and maybe it might carry over into the bid process.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Site selection timeline

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This is the timeline for the 2008 Democratic National Convention site selection:

January 13, 2006Deadline for cities to respond to an invitation to bid for the 2008 Convention
February 2006A formal Request for Proposal (RFP), containing detailed specifications for hosting the 2008 Convention, is sent to interested cities
May 2006Deadline for interested cities to submit formal responses to the RFP
Summer 2006Site visits
Late summer 2006Finalists named
Late Fall 2006/Winter 2007Announcement of 2008 Convention Host City

I would expect 10-20 cities to show their interest by January 13 in hosting the convention, with 5-10 cities formally responding to the RFP.

Monday, December 19, 2005

List of cities invited to bid for the 2008 convention

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Andre at Georgia Politics Unfiltered has published the list of cities invited to bid for the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Interestingly, there are 35 cities, not the 33 mentioned in news reports:

Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, Miami-Dade County, FL, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, OR., St Louis, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, DC.
The list is basically the same as the 35 cities on the 2004 invitee list, with the following differences:
  • In 2004, Minneapolis and St. Paul were both on the list (which made no sense), but only Minneapolis is on the 2008 list.
  • Miami-Dade County, FL is on only the 2008 list
I'm not sure why Miami-Dade County was listed separately from Miami unless the Miami Beach Convention Center (Which hosted Rep 68 and 72 and Dem 72), is planning a bid separate from a American Airlines Arena (convention)/Miami Arena (workspace) bid. Note that a Miami Beach Convention Center bid by itself would probably fail, as the DNC has a stated preference for a "bowl" configuration (i.e., a basketball arena) for the convention itself. The last Democratic convention actually held in a typical convention center was the '84 convention in San Francisco, and the logisitics cause a much smaller seating capacity.

Some interesting omissions from the list:
  • Anaheim: As noted, Anaheim hosted suites at both '04 conventions pushing an '08 bid, but there's been no news about a potential Anaheim bid since then. I'm sure if Anaheim still wanted to bid the fact that they're not on the current list wouldn't prevent them. But the Miami/Miami-Date separate invitations would imply that Anaheim is not covered by the LA invitation, so it will be interesting to watch what happens here.
  • The biggest metropolitan area which was not invited to bid (not counting areas which are suburbs of larger areas) was Tampa. Tampa has hosted Super Bowls - why no invitation?
The deadline to accept or decline invitations to bid is January 13, so we will know in a few weeks which cities are serious.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Update on 2004 cities invited to bid

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I recently listed the 34 cities invited to bid on the 2004 convention, which was taken from Democracy in Action's excellent summary of the 2004 site selection process:

Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City (MO), Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland (OR), San Antonio, San Diego, St. Louis, St. Paul, San Francisco, Sacramento, Seattle, Salt Lake City and Washington, DC
However, elsewhere in the article it clearly states that Baltimore was involved in the bid process, although it is not shown in the list. This would make a total of 35 cities.

On the other hand, Minneapolis and St. Paul are both shown. While they are clearly separate cities, any bid from them would clearly be combined, so they should probably be considered 1 city. So the updated list would be:
Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City (MO), Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St, Paul, Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland (OR), San Antonio, San Diego, St. Louis, San Francisco, Sacramento, Seattle, Salt Lake City and Washington, DC.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Atlanta update

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Andre at Georgia Politics Unfiltered pushes an Atlanta bid:

I've blogged previously about Atlanta hosting the 2008 Democratic National Convention & I'm seriously thinking about actively pursuing the task of encouraging our state and local leaders to go after the Democratic National Convention.
If you go back more than forty years, Democrats have only hosted their national convention in the South twice (Miami Beach in 1972 & Atlanta in 1988). If we follow that pattern, then the South is way over-due to host the Democratic Convention again and Atlanta (other than Miami Beach and possibly New Orleans) is the only southern city with the facilities and infrastructure that is needed to host a presidential nominating convention.

We've got the hotels and we've got the arena space (either Philips Arena or the Georgia Dome), so what will it take for Atlanta to formally throw its hat in the ring for the 2008 Democratic National Convention?

Sunday, December 11, 2005

2008 site selection summary (updated 2/24/06)

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The DNC sent out invitations to 35 cities to bid for the 2008 convention in late November '05. On Feb 17, the DNC confirmed that eleven cities accepted the invitation to bid for the convention:

Anaheim: Held an event at the 2004 convention to kick-off their 2008 bid. With California not being competitive, and with the Dems in LA in 2000, I doubt this will happen.

Dallas: The CEO of the Convention Bureau doesn't want to even bid for the convention. Not looking good.

Denver: First city to announce a Host Committee. Given the strategic Western location of Colorado, and the drumbeat of publicity, they must be considered a front-runner at this point.

Detroit: They'll be a contender if they make a bid, but the news from Detroit seems a bit wishy-washy.

Las Vegas: Harry Reid's home state, and the infrastructure is there. But I doubt this is the message the Dems will want to send.

Minneapolis: Purple state could be attractive.

New Orleans: Lots of talk for the obvious reasons. Is this a plus or a minus? The DNC is is having their spring '06 meeting here.

New York: After the '04 GOP convention, you would think new York would want a break. But the last 2 Democratic presidents, Carter and Clinton, both had their first convention in New York.

Orlando: Too hot, the arena doesn't have enough skyboxes, and it's hurricane season.

Phoenix: McCain's home turf, and it's too hot.

San Antonio:
Alamodome or AT&T Center? One of 2 cities in Bush's back yard.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

2004 site selection - the final 4

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This article in Campaigns & Elections was written in August '02 and has some fascinating information on the 2004 site selection process:

In deciding what city should host their party's 2004 convention, Democratic National Committee officials must juggle competing interests, including the host city's financial strength and the party's Electoral College prospects in that state.

After initially considering nearly a dozen potential host cities, DNC officials have winnowed the list down to four: New York, Miami, Boston and Detroit. Each has its advantages and drawbacks, and what factor proves decisive will not be known until after the November 2002 midterm elections.

Like the Olympics, playing host puts a city in the spotlight, but can also be cost prohibitive. The DNC's minimal qualifications for hosting the convention scared off a number of cities at the start of the selection process. The host must be able to accommodate 50,000 or more visitors, which includes 17,000 to 20,000 hotel rooms. In addition, there must be enough office space to host thousands of convention staff members, said DNC Communications Director Maria Cardona.

And of course the city must have an adequate arena to hold the four-day convention, which is likely to take place in late summer. The Republicans plan to hold their convention from Aug. 30-Sept. 2. The Democrats are looking at a slew of dates before then, and have considered the possibility of holding theirs at the same time, to deflect attention from the renomination of President Bush.

In deciding whether to pursue a bid to host the Democratic convention, cities must take into account what are expected to be substantial security costs. Already a major cost consideration before Sept. 11, several cities dropped their bids when it became apparent security could be extremely expensive.


These and other factors helped eliminate cities who the DNC invited to submit bids but didn't make the final cut, or decided to drop out of the running: Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and Pittsburgh.

Each city is playing up its own local credentials.

Miami-Dade County's application offers the use of more than 25,000 hotel rooms. Possible convention venues are the Coconut Grove Exhibition Center and the Miami Beach Convention Center

This is the county's second consecutive attempt to play host to the event, after making an unsuccessful bid in 2000. The 1972 Democratic and Republican conventions were held in Miami Beach.


Boston, too, is stressing its existing facilities in its bid to persuade members of the DNC advisory committee. Boston's 103-page bid was accompanied by appendices and other supporting documents, such as floor plans for the FleetCenter, where the convention would be held. Julie Burns, deputy chief of staff for Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino (D), said the city has more than 25,000 hotel rooms, many close to the arena where the convention would take place.


In Detroit's bid, city officials are stressing gains made in a revival of downtown, which they contend would be extended if their city hosted the Democratic convention.

Detroit's official bid promotes itself as "a city that embraces the core values of the Democratic Party ... cosmopolitan ... a city built by immigrants... a city with a strong union presence ... a city with an entrepreneurial spirit and a dedicated workforce that produces the best America has to offer."

The city also touts its available space to hold the convention and what it calls friendly accommodations. "A combination of the Cobo Conference and Exhibition Center and Joe Louis Arena offers a venue located on the Detroit River with an international view of Windsor, Ontario," the bid says.


Figures provided by the DNC indicate host cities do experience a strong economic upswing: $70 million for Atlanta in 1988, $104 million for New York in 1992, $130 million for Chicago in 1996 and $147 million for Los Angeles in 2000.


The sheer cost of building or maintaining facilities has proved too much for some cities. Among cities where costs were a factor in not bidding was Pittsburgh, which said it could not afford to pay the estimated $350 million for a new convention center.

The politics of the Electoral College are almost certain to play a role in the selection process. Two of the cities, Miami and Detroit, represent swing states -- Florida and Michigan, respectively -- that are key elements to Democrats' strategy for winning the White House in 2004. But there also are advantages to hosting the convention in reliably Democratic states, such as New York or Massachusetts, because that could help turn out the party "base" of support on election day.

So the keys are financial support, enough hotel rooms, good site, good support space for DNC offices and media workspace, and, of course, political considerations, both straight electoral votes, as well as what message does the site send.

The note about the Democrats considering holding the convention the same week as the Democrats was news to me. It would have made no sense for the Democrats - they needed to introduce their candidate. People knew who Bush was, so I bet the Republicans would have gladly shared the week and the news coverage. But I'm sure this wasn't seriously discussed.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Denver pushes bid at fall DNC meeting (update)

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The DNC is meeting in Phoenix this week, and Denver continues to remain the most active city. Dan Slater at Dem Notes reported on Friday:

We are also continuing to promote the concept of Denver as the 2008 convention site. So far, responses have been quite positive to the possibility.
Today he follows up. See his site for the unofficial logo he created.

The DNC held its full meeting this morning here in Phoenix. As folks left the meeting, they were greeted by the Colorado delegation handing out pens and mints, with labels on the pens with the above image. (Note, please, that this was something I whipped up in about half an hour, and is likely nothing at all like what the “official” logo will look like if/when we submit a bid.)

The response to Denver ranged from “Wow!” to “Yeah, I guess I can live with Denver.” However, the responses were universally positive, and the buzz we are creating here in Phoenix for the convention bid is palpable. And people are using their pens; I was in a technology session for state party chairs, vice chairs and staff this afternoon, and nearly half the room was taking notes with their new Denver pens.

He also notes the poll I created on Daily Kos, with Denver winning with 42%, for whatever that's worth right now. The point is, Denver is talking it up with the DNC members, which is what needs to be done at this point.