Thursday, August 10, 2006

DNC visits Denver again - update

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

Members of the Democratic National Comittee's Technical Advisory Group revisited Denver today to take a second look:

"I think it's very good that they are coming back out," said Debbie Willhite, executive director of Denver's host committee.
It will also be a chance for Denver's host committee to showcase some new staff. Willhite, a longtime event organizer with national Democratic connections, was recently hired as executive director. "I've been on site selection in the past," Willhite said. "Once you get down to the real cities that are in contention, you want to check things out as thoroughly as you can."

And from the Rocky Mountain News:
The small group, which arrived Wednesday, will revisit the Pepsi Center and meet with Denver boosters trying to trump New York and Minneapolis-St. Paul for the Democratic National Convention.

"It's like getting a second date," said Debbie Willhite, who has helped the DNC select a convention site in the past and is now executive director of the Denver 2008 Host Committee.

"When you're starting to get down to just a couple of sites and you're going to be making recommendations to the decision-makers, you want to be as precise about what the differences are," she said. "I think it is a very, very good sign that they're coming back out, and we're very excited to have them here."

Willhite added that she's heard that Denver, which hosted its only national political convention in 1908, is among the top two cities being eyed for the convention. "I'm fairly certain from what I hear on the proverbial grapevine that (the other city is) Minneapolis-St. Paul," she said.

I think it's clear that New York is running a distant third at this point. Dean is 50-state kind of guy, and New York just brings nothing politically to the image the Democrats want in 2008. And the facilities aren't so great. Madison Square Garden is getting old, and there's no good adjacent workspace for the media. Unless New York overwhelms the DNC with money, its hard to see how New York gets the bid over Denver or St. Paul.

There will also be followup visits in the other cities.

Update: The Denver Post has a followup:

Denver has told national Democrats they can count on close to 19,000 hotel rooms if they choose the city for the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau president and chief executive Richard Scharf confirmed Thursday that local hotels have committed more hotel rooms than the 17,000 the Democrats are looking for.

"I think that is going to be a far superior offer than what any other city is going to be able to offer," Scharf said.

I think New York might debate that statement, but if you have enough hotel rooms, it doesn't matter how many more you have.

He added, "I can tell you right now if the Democratic convention does not come to Denver in 2008, it will not be because of the hotel rooms." While local officials have always expressed confidence in the area's ability to deliver the needed hotels, the commitments do a great deal to end skepticism in the metro area's capacity.

The confirmation comes as Democrats on the convention selection committee were in town for a second visit to Denver. Denver's host committee president and City Councilwoman Elbra Wedgeworth said "this was a more casual trip" than the last visit in June. "They spent most of their time at the Pepsi Center today," she said.

And from DemNotes:
This second site visit was not by all of the ten-member DNC Technical Committee; instead, only four of the members of the committee came out. They asked that we keep this visit much more low-key than the last one, and instead wanted to spend much more time going over the details of the bid with a fine-toothed comb. With that in mind, their only full day here, Thursday, was dominated by meetings with the key folks from the Host Committee on a wide variety of issues. Most of the meetings were either in the new downtown Hyatt, or at the Pepsi Center.
The attendees were treated to a talk by author / historian and professor Patty Limerick, who gave a great presentation on how the history of the West and of Colorado helps make the case for Denver in 2008.
And she wasn’t afraid to take a few shots at the humidity of the other remaining contenders: “Wilted people do not display spirit and hope.”
Limerick’s talk concluded with a note that “America the Beautiful” was written because of Colorado. The lyrics, she said, are the lyrics of a Democratic Convention in Denver.
Since I was unable to attend the first site visit, this was my first chance to really sit down and chat with some of the Technical Committee members. I came away impressed by their commitment to this job, and the detail to which they are paying attention to our bids. I also came away a little disturbed to hear that at least a couple of them monitor DemNotes to see what is going on with the bid. Oh, well; there’s no accounting for taste.
Gee, and I thought they monitored 2008 Democratic Convention Watch! Well, better to monitor a blog by someone who actually knows whats going on.....
Our next step in the Convention process is the full DNC meeting next week in Chicago. ... the week will be filled with receptions, dinners, and parties by each of the three cities who are bidding for the convention. New York will kick it off with a reception on Thursday night; Minneapolis - St. Paul will hold their reception (along with other receptions hosted by other DNC groups) on Friday night; and Denver will cap it off with a breakfast for DNC Members on Saturday morning, just prior to the actual DNC meeting.


Anonymous said...

No adjacent workspace for the media at MSG? Most major media organizations are headquartered adjacent to MSG.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see Debbie Willhite comment on the union issues in Denver...

Matt said...

The media organizations in New York are not adjacent to MSG - they are farther uptown. Adjacent means inside the security perimiter, so the media can go quickly back and forth from the workspace to the convention hall. in 2004, the GOP used the Farley Post Office across 8th Ave - they even built a temorary walkway over the avenue. As far as I know (but not confirmed), the Post Office will not be available in 2008 as its being converted into the new Penn Station, which is currently under MSG. MSG does have other interior space which will be used, but is it enough?

Anonymous said...

Go Denver

Anonymous said...

While I don't have any doubts that Denver has enough hotel rooms for the event, I do have problems with the fact that they aren't union! Come on, I know that I'm not the only one who doesn't like the idea of the DNC using non-union hotels. If the DNC ignores this point, they are going to lose a lot of support.

Anonymous said...

This union thing is being blown out of proportion so much it's making me sick. What we should be focusing on is the fact that Denver is the only city bidding exclusively for the DNC in 2008. Matt- When is Kos going to get a new poll out? I'm voting for Denver when they do.

Matt said...

I don't think the fact that Denver is the only city bidding for only the Dmeocratic convention is going to win them any points. It's a good soundbite, but it really doesn't matter. And as for a new Kos poll, you'll have to ask him yourself.

Anonymous said...

Matt, just so you feel better, in the same breath that they said they take a look at DemNotes, they also said that they monitor this site (2008 Democratic Convention Watch) closely. They said you get things right a lot more than you get them wrong.... I think it's okay for me to say that...

Anonymous said...

Hey Dan-
Demnotes rocks! When do you think Denver will get a convention website up? It would really help further the City & County's bid, and I'd love to see one.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the compliment. The Host Committee is working with a web designer on getting a site up. We have gone through a few drafts, and we want to be sure that when we get it up there, it is a fully-functional, high-quality product.

I'm sure you'll see a note here (as well as on DemNotes), as soon as we announce that it has gone live.

Anonymous said...

Rocky Mountain High! Go Denver!

Anonymous said...

Colorado Gov race update: Former Denver DA Bill Ritter (D) and CD7 Rep. Bob Beauprez (R) sparred off on the 14th in what will be their first head to head debate.

As is the common denominator of this race, Beauprez and Ritter both took aim at each others stances on the Supreme Court's landmark '70's case Roe v. Wade. Beauprez especially through attacks at Ritter's position, only to be outwitted by the former DA's carismatic responses.

Controversial Colorado prop C&D of '05 was also a key-note topic of the debate, with each candidate taking the opposite position of the other. Beauprez belittled C&D early on, only to be bit back by a passionate Ritter on the matter of state budget/deficit in regards to C&D. While Colorado voters overwelmingly voted C&D into law in 2005, even with the support of embattled Reagan conservative Gov. Bill Owens, Beauprez has continually stated his desire to repeal the package.

Polls have played a very interesting role in the race to become the next Governor of the Centennial State. Ritter's consistant lead has even baffled conservative columnists of the Wall Street Journal, with their recent poll showing Ritter with a lead over the Congressman. Beauprez was hoping for a bounce with the drop-out of ultra-conservative Pennsylvania native Mark Holtzman. But, the hope of the bounce wasn't enough to make it true. Although the gap between Ritter and his Republican nemesis has narrowed to 3 point margins on average, Beauprez continues to be roasted by online bloggers at Coloradopols and the Daily Kos. With the Democrat now out-fundraising Beauprez's camp, the GOP has started attack ads slamming Ritter's character.

Ritter has often been placed by the media and likely voters as one of the most appealing crossover candidates in Colorado history. Even red-leaning Front Range voters have been trumpeting good polls for the 49 year-old attorney raised on the plains. His dislike for nasty campaign ads has won over many cenerists upset with Rove-like politics of a 2006 GOP.

With less than three months to election day, Coloradans, the DNC, and everyone else watching this race develop will likely not be disappointed. No doubt The race and bid for the 2008 DNC will both play off each other in the months to come.

My prediction:
Ritter (D) 52.2%
Beauprez (R) 47.8%
2008 Democratic National Convention: Denver
2008 Republican National Convention: ???**

**Note: 2008 RNC site will defenitely be the hardest to predict.

Anonymous said...

Is this from an article? The first attack ad i've seen was an ad on Beauprez--the classic election ad that implies the candidate "talks both ways."

A lot of people threw a fuss 'cause Ritter is pro-life too, insisting they wouldn't vote for him.

Anonymous said...

Colorado Gov Race update: Rasmussen Reports polling firm has released a new post-debate poll, making this one the newest official poll to date:

Bill Ritter (D) 48%
Bob Beauprez (R) 39%


To date, this 9-point lead is the largest gap margin in the election. Mathmatically, these poll numbers in turn result in a predicted outcome this November as follows:

Bill Ritter (D) 55.5%
Bob Beauprez (R) 44.5%

Look for more updates on this blog as the election develops.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if you mentioned anything about this, but Willhite is a huge DNC insider, and more importantly, a DNCC (Dem National Convention Committee) insider. Considering the usual rough relations between the DNCC and the host committee, this may be another point in Denver's favor.

Come to think of it, that Denver has already hired an ED is a pretty big deal, Boston didn't do that until after the bid was secured. It's clearly signalling that they quite serious. I'm pro-Denver, myself, but have first-hand host committee vs. DNCC experience, so take that for what it's worth.

Thanks for all of the great information! I didn't think there would be so much out there between the site visits and the November announcement, it's great that you keep tabs on it all for us lazy lurkers. Make sure someone gets you credentials when the time comes!

Matt said...

Folks, I appreciate all the comments and support, but lets keep the comments focused on the convention. There are lots of great sites covering Colorado politics, and I can assure you that your comments will get a wider audience there than they will here!

And for the comment on Wilhite, I posted about all her DNC connections here.

Anonymous said...

Best regards from NY! »