Monday, December 31, 2007

Michigan delegate update

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As we've noted, Florida has been stripped of its delegates due its early primary. Michigan's situation, however, is a little more complicated:

As Iowa voters gear up for Thursday’s caucuses, Michigan Democrats have just a few days to change their scheduled Jan. 15 presidential primary or lose all their delegates to the Democratic National Convention in August. The conflict began when Michigan’s legislature set the Jan. 15 primary so voters could exercise greater influence over the selection of the party nominees for the 2008 presidential race, but Michigan Democrats appear likely to end up with no delegates at all and thus little clout at the national party convention in Denver.

The rule-making division of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) recommended on Dec. 1 that the party strip the Michigan Democratic Party of its 156 delegates because of the state’s non-compliance with national party rules. The DNC set Feb. 5 as the earliest date states can schedule their nominating contests [outside of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada]].
At the Dec. 1 meeting, the Rules and Bylaws Committee gave the state party 30 days to get into compliance with national regulations before the committee’s recommendation became final and Michigan lost its delegates. The clock started ticking Dec. 5, when the Michigan Democratic Party received the DNC’s official notice. So unless the state party takes action by Saturday to return to its DNC-approved plan to hold a Feb. 9 state party-run caucus, it will lose its delegates. The Michigan Democratic Party has done nothing to indicate it intends to change from the Jan. 15 primary and party Chairman Mark Brewer has said there are no plans to do so.

Assuming Michigan does not change its date, given that Edwards and Obama are not on the Michigan ballot, if the media uses Michigan's delegates in their summaries, that will be a big psychologist boost for Clinton.

Update: Jerome Armstrong over at MyDD has more on Michigan:
For some reason I never got to the bottom of, Obama & Edwards both made the bone-headed idea of dropping out of the Michigan primary-- why, does anyone know?
But as with Florida, the delegates will likely get restored:

The net effect of the DNC's banning Michigan's 156 delegates from participating in next summer's presidential nomination process will be a penalty that is not enforced:

"I don't think it'll affect much of anything. All of the nominees said they'd seat delegates. We'll have delegates in August. (The exclusion) is not expected to be enforced," DeRoche said, noting it would reflect poorly on the candidates during the presidential election in November if they were not to allow the votes of two states as sizable as Michigan and Florida during the primary process.
Yes, it would be a disaster. Since all the candidates are apparently already on the record for allowing Michigan's delegates to the convention, that makes the Jan 15th contest there much more than a "beauty contest" as there are going to be 156 delegates that are chosen.

If the media counts Michigan, Michigan's delegates almost guarantee Clinton a delegate lead going into Super Tuesday. And I don't think the DNC can do anything about it.

History of the Primaries

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It's been 32 years since the last time we saw a convention really decide the nominee: The Republicans in 1976. Why is that? Reforms instituted by the parties after the '68 elections allowed the primaries to flourish and make a large majority of the delegates bound to their candidate. And with normal political pressure not allowing more than two candidates to survive long into the primary season, it makes it easy for one candidate to gain a majority.

For more information on how the primary process evolved, CQPolitics is running an excellent series on the history of the primaries:

Part One: 1912-64
Part Two: 1968-72
Part Three: 1976-84
Part Four: 1988
Part Five: 1992
Part Six: 1996

Some highlights:
  • 1912 - North Dakota holds first primary in US
  • 1920 - New Hampshire starts first-in-the-nation primary
  • 1952 - New Hampshire (on March 11th!) 2nd place finish forces Truman to withdraw from race
  • 1968 - Too close New Hampshire win forces Johnson to withdraw; Kennedy wins June 4 California primary but is assassinated moments after delivering his victory speech.
  • 1976 - Carter "wins" Iowa caucuses (places 2nd to Uncommitted) setting him up for nomination
  • 1984 - A total of 35 states held primaries in 1980, up from 26 in 1976 and 20 in 1972. The campaign also presented an early signal of the “front-loading” of the primary calendar, as several states moved their contests to the early part of the process. From five contests held in March 1976, there were nine in March 1980, as well as two more on April 1.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Delegate Tracker

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With less than a week left before the Iowa caucuses it will soon be time to start counting votes. We have posted a Delegate Tracker on the left side of the blog that will be updated after each primary. Currently we are showing the number of superdelegates that have officially announced their support for a candidate.

Here is a calendar of upcoming primary events

January 3: Iowa Republican and Democratic caucuses
January 5: Wyoming Republican primary

January 8: New Hampshire primaries

January 15: Michigan primaries
January 19: Nevada caucuses, South Carolina Republican primary

January 26: South Carolina Democratic primary

January 29: Florida primaries

February 1: Maine Republican primary

February 5: "Super Tuesday" potentially decisive day as primaries are held in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho (Democrats), Illinois, Kansas (Democrats), Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico (Democrats), New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah
March 4: Five states including Texas and Ohio hold primaries

June 3: Montana and South Dakota hold last Democratic primaries

June 28: Nebraska holds last Republican caucus
August 25-28: Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado
Update (from Matt): Note that at this time 4 years ago, Howard Dean led in the superdelegate race.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Superdelegates lean toward Clinton

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A superdelegate, unlike a normal delegate, is able to make their own choice on who to nominate at the convention. In a tight race it may come down to superdelegates and who they nominate as to who wins. While the race may be decided by Super Tuesday on February 5th, it's a good idea to take a look at who the superdelegates are and who they will nominate.

New Hampshire and Iowa will have to wait. The nation's first presidential primary, for Democrats anyway, is being waged among hundreds of party insiders — superdelegates who could play a big part in selecting the nominee at next summer's national convention.

So far, most of them still haven't been sold on any of the candidates.

The Associated Press contacted 90 percent of the 765 superdelegates, mostly elected officials and other partyofficers, who are free to support anyone they choose at the convention, regardless of what happens in the primaries.

Hillary Rodham Clinton leads Barack Obama by more than a 2-1 margin among those who have endorsed a candidate. But a little more than half of those contacted — 365 — said they haven't settled on a Democratic standard bearer. - AP

This poll was conducted almost a month ago so things have probably changed quite a bit.
In the coming weeks we will try to get a handle on where the superdelegate votes will go.

Superdelegates include the 235 Democratic House members and nonvoting representatives, 49 senators, the District of Columbia’s two “shadow senators” and 28 governors. They total 314 — about 14 percent of the 2,182 delegates a candidate will need to secure the party’s presidential nomination at next year’s national convention in Denver. - PoliticsWest
The most recent updates to the Superdelegate Endorsement list can be found here

Delegating Denver - Westword's look at each states delegates

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While looking for more information on Sandra Widener, who was a co-founder of Westword, I found this great series of articles that have a bunch information about each state's delegates. Westword also gives suggestions as to where they think the state's delegates would probably want to hang out in and around Denver.

Delegating Denver #23 of 56: Maine


Most Mainer Denver Neighborhood: Cherry Creek

Most Mainer Bar:
7 South Broadway
The Denver bar that books local and national bands in the same spirit as Portland's Asylum.

Most Mainer Restaurant:
The Ship Tavern
Brown Palace Hotel
321 17th Street
Come for the nautical shlock, stay for the lobster rolls. Ayuh.

You can find the rest of the series here

Several local companies already booked solid for convention

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If you're planning on holding a party in Denver during the convention you may be out of luck if you haven't already made your reservations.

The bureau said there could be as many as 1,500 parties, events and other gatherings over a two-week period surrounding the convention, not to mention dozens more in coming months as organizers and others prepare for the DNC.

"It's going to be big," said Rich Grant, director of communications for the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, adding that the city also will host two other large conventions near the DNC.

While Denver has entertained similar-sized conventions, the DNC will generate much more ancillary spending on parties, dinners, gatherings and entertainment, Grant said. - RMN

You can view an online directory of local vendors at the DNC Host Committee site (which appears to be down as of the time I'm posting this)

Convention security bill signed into law

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President Bush signed the $555 billion omnibus bill on Wednesday. The bill gives both Denver and Minneapolis $50 million for convention security.

"Yea!" exclaimed Elbra Wedgeworth, president of the Denver 2008 Host Committee. "We want to have a great time and to make sure we're safe. For small cities like us and Minneapolis-St. Paul, it's critical."

Denver Police Chief Gerry Whitman said recently that the department already had dedicated staff resources to planning for security, and Katherine Archuleta, the mayor's liaison for the convention, said they would be going to Washington in January to discuss the money distribution.

"What it means now is we can move forward immediately with the Department of Justice to establish the payment method, and we can anticipate expenditures in training and equipment," she said. - RMN

This will be a huge boost for convention funding and is the earliest that the funding has been given for conventions. Boston was not reimbursed for security in 2004 until the Democratic National Convention was over.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Leadership award announced to honor Widener and Parr's memory. Katy Parr released from hospital.

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John Parr and Sandy Widener touched a lot of lives before they were taken from us in a tragic accident on December 22nd along with their daughter Chase.

The John Parr and Sandy Widener Civic Leadership Award will recognize people exemplifying John and Sandy's commitment to and passion for improving the metro Denver community.

The cash award will be presented each fall at The Denver Foundation's Tribute to Philanthropy in honor of John, Sandy, and their daughter Chase.

Tax deductible contributions can be made to the
John Parr and Sandy Widener Community Leadership Award,
c/o The Denver Foundation
55 Madison Street, #800
Denver, CO 80206.

For more information, please contact David Miller, 303-300-1790 ext. 104, - Denver Post

You can get more information on the award at The Denver Foundation's website and can make online donations.

The only survivor of the crash, 17 year old Katy Parr left the hospital on Wednesday.

An East High senior whose parents and sister died in a crash last weekend on Interstate 80 in Wyoming has been released from the hospital.

Relatives say 17-year-old Katy Parr plans to travel to Boise, Idaho, with family members to continue her recovery.

Classmates brought stuffed animals and wrote cards of support at the east Denver school today. - Denver Post

A vigil was held for the family on Tuesday at Cheeseman Park in Denver. You can watch the video here.

Chase Parr, who attended Wesleyan University, was remembered by her fellow students

A gifted musician with a bright smile and a well-honed sense of social justice, Chase Parr arrived at Wesleyan University last year determined to change the world.

She quickly immersed herself in campus life, making many friends and joining the Mixolydians, a vocal ensemble.

"Chase Parr was always positive, encouraging and a blessing to everyone that had the privilege of her acquaintance," said a posting on the group's website. "Chase's wonderful character always lit up rehearsals." - Hartford Courant
More information can be found in my previous post

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Will the media count Florida and Michigan?

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We've been discussing in the comments what might actually happen to the Florida and Michigan delegates, and a point I've raised is: What will the media do? As the media reports the ongoing delegate tallies, will it include Florida and Michigan or not? Well, thegreenpapers is an excellent reference site for elections, and they've decided to report both counts, "Soft", with sanctions, and "Alternative", with no sanctions. We'll wait to see what the major papers and the AP does, and with Iowa less 9 days away and Michigan in 3 weeks, we'll know soon enough.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

In memory of John Parr, Sandra Widener and their daughter Chase

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Although not directly related to the convention, John and Sandra would have been a big part of it.

John Parr, a Democratic political consultant who played key roles in city and state government, and his wife, a former Denver Post reporter and co-founder of the alternative weekly Westword, died in an auto accident on an icy Wyoming highway Saturday.

Parr, 59, Sandra Widener, 53, and their daughter Chase Anna, 19, died when their Subaru skidded out of control and a tractor trailer slammed into the driver's side of the vehicle on Interstate 80.

The couple's daughter, Katy, 17, survived and was taken in critical condition to Wyoming Medical Center in Casper, according to the Wyoming Highway Patrol.

Parr "was always a guy looking for a way to help people," said William McAllister, who is married to Parr's niece. - Denver Post

Governor Bill Ritter made the following statement on Sunday
“There is no way to describe the pain of this terrible, terrible tragedy," Gov. Ritter said. "This is such a devastating loss for the entire community on so many levels. John and Sandy made untold contributions – small, large and every size in between – and touched untold lives. They were loved by so many people that you can feel the tears ripple across Colorado today. We will be in mourning for a very long time.”

“Chase and her sister Katy have been an amazing gift to their many friends. We will do everything we can to comfort Katy and help her through this. Let us all hold her deep in our hearts and our prayers.”

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper made this statement:

"We cherish our memories of John and Sandy and their daughter Chase. They made us better people. They made Denver a better city, and Colorado a better state. We struggle to comprehend this loss, and our hearts go out to Katy."
Update: Leadership award announced to honor Widener and Parr's memory. Katy Parr released from hospital.

A convention a month

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The Democrats are not the only political party having a political convention in 2008. In fact, there will be a convention every month from April through September:

For those interested in following preparations for the GOP convention, check out The 2008 GOP Convention Report.

Friday, December 21, 2007

DNCC Holiday Greetings

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The DNCC has made a nice video of all the convention staff wishing everybody Happy Holidays, including both Wally Podrazik and Jason Rosenberg sightings! And while we're at it, Happy Holidays from Matt, Oreo, and everybody here at 2008 Democratic Convention Watch.

Dem convention could boost mountain tourism

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Towns like Aspen and Glenwood Springs are looking forward to the Democratic National Convention almost as much as Denver is:

Local tourism officials are hoping that when Democrats converge for the national convention in Denver next summer, the party will spill over here.

Democrats are saying it will be the largest convention in Colorado history. That could mean some delegates' motoring West while they're in Denver, and statewide publicity from the pack of journalists who descend on them.

"It's kind of like the Super Bowl of politics," said Marianne Virgili, CEO of the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. "Everybody is aware of how much buzz the Super Bowl generates in the hosting community, and I think the same will be the case for the whole state of Colorado when the Democratic convention comes to town. I know the state tourism board is very excited, not only about the convention itself, but the opportunity to promote the state to attendees and to the media community watching." - Aspen Daily News

How could you travel to Colorado and not visit the mountains?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Host committee announces convention vendors sustainable practices option

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Updated: Vendors are not required to be sustainable but have the option to promote themselves as meeting the Green Business Designation. I have removed the Denver Business Journal story and inserted the Press Release.

Host Committee Press Release:


Greening of vendor directory will help make 2008 convention the greenest ever - and put Colorado on path to sustainability

Denver, CO - Dec. 19, 2007 - The Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee and the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado today added a Green Business Designation to the Democratic National Convention's official Vendor Directory - the first-ever green recognition process for a national political convention.

The Green Business Designation, at, was compiled by the City and County of Denver; the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado; the Colorado Alliance of Sustainable Business Associations; and Greenprint Denver, and will be used by the Denver Host Committee to identify sustainable businesses on its popular Vendor Directory.

The Vendor Directory is a project of the Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee and members of its business outreach committee. Already, some 1,000 businesses are registered on the directory that serves as a comprehensive guide of businesses looking to market and sell their goods and services to the estimated 35,000 attendees at next summer's Democratic National Convention.

The green designation requires businesses to commit to sustainable practices in seven key areas, including leadership, energy efficiency, water conservation, waste and pollution reduction, community involvement, working conditions and education.

"Using the vendor directory to highlight our local environmental and sustainable business leaders for convention guests who are doing business here will have tremendous legacy benefits for Denver and the state," said Host Committee Director of Greening Parry Burnap. "This opportunity will inspire local companies to start putting their houses in order now to attract that convention business, and we hope the vendor directory sets a precedent that leads to institutionalizing environmental/sustainable performance as a formal and consistent requirement for preferred contractor status in future conventions."

"All eyes will be on Colorado during the Convention, and we will showcase the state's leadership and commitment to a healthy, prosperous and sustainable future," added Janna Six, Education Director for the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado. "The convention provides an ideal opportunity to build momentum and establish a real legacy for a sustainable future - both in Colorado and across the country."

The 2008 Democratic National Convention is slated to take place August 25-28, and is expected to bring 35,000 visitors to Denver, including 15,000 members of the national and international media. In addition to showcasing Denver and the Rocky Mountain West to audiences around the globe, estimates indicate that Denver will realize $160 million to $200 million in economic benefits.

The Green Business Designation allows businesses to self-identify two levels of sustainable practices. The basic level requires businesses to incorporate at least 4 of the 7 sustainable criteria into business practices. The advanced level designation calls for a business to provide a documented track record of sustainable practices for at least one year, and which is verified by a 3rd party, such as Businesses for Social Responsibility, Energy Star or other organizations that monitor business sustainability practices.

For more information on Green Business you can go to Alliance for Sustainable Colorado, The Colorado Alliance of Sustainable Business Associations and Greenprint Denver.

Convention lockdown update

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A convention official has told me that the security zone is still under development and nothing has been decided yet. They assured me that the final plan would cause as little disruption to the city as possible.

This confirms Mayor Hickenlooper's office's belief that the story was inaccurate.

From Saturday's Rocky Mountain News

But plans to lock down a mile-wide radius around the center for security reasons could wreak havoc with busing and activities at nearby schools. Two dozen DPS schools are located within a mile and a half of the Pepsi Center, and the Emily Griffith Opportunity School is within a couple of blocks.
This is certainly good news for anybody that's going to be in Denver next summer.

House approves Iraq funding... convention security money on its way

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MSNBC and CNN are reporting that the House has accepted the $70 billion funding for Iraq which sends the final bill to Bush for his signature.

With the signing of the bill Denver and Minneapolis will both receive $50 million for convention security funding.

Update: Story on the bill's passage here

DNC Haus your one-stop shop for convention housing, roomate and ride-share info

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I just stumbled on the website DNC Haus which allows people to post houses for rent and rideshare and roommate requests for the convention. A majority of the posts have been transferred from Craigslist but as word gets out this could be a valuable resource.

For the discriminating convention-goer there is a 2 bedroom condo within walking distance of the convention center for the low low price of $20,000.

Available August 24 -31, 2008. Beautifully furnished 2BR with office, executive rental on Capital Hill, Denver. Close to Convention Center, 16th Street Mall, Museums, Performing Arts Center, Invesco Field, Pepsi Center, Coors Field, State Capital. Beautiful decorator furnishings. Two large terraces, with built in Barbecue, perfect for entertaining. Fireplace, flat screen TV, full size washer/dryer, full service concierge, work out facility, conference room. Rent includes cable, high speed internet and all utilities.

Or if you're on a budget you can rent this cozy 6 bedroom house in Wash Park for $12,000.
We have a 6 bedroom/4.5 bath 4200 sq. foot home that is located in the charming Washington Park area (quiet street 1 blk. from best park in Denver), less than 10 minutes drive from Pepsi Center. We are interested in renting it during the week (possibly month) of Democratic National Convention (DNC). Our fully furnished 1897 Victorian-style home was recently totally renovated with all top-end luxuries(gourmet-kitchen with granite, sub-zero fridge, wolf stove, etc.; master-suite with steam shower; all brick outdoor patio with gas grill for entertaining; private 20-ft ceiling office with computer/cable-modem; wrap-around porch; wine cellar; outdoor jungle-gym and indoor ping pong) -- perfect for a family!
With prices like these I need to start thinking about renting my house out!

(Update from Matt): I wouldn't get your hopes up:
A Boston Globe article from just before the Democratic National Convention found that homeowners' "visions of fast bucks" won by renting their homes resulted in "just about nothing."

Denver City Council trying to change park and parade permit rules

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The Denver City Council is trying to make it more difficult for protest groups to get permits to gather in city parks or hold parades during the convention. Their plan is to give the city first priority in getting a permit. So if a group like Recreate 68 requests a permit for a park, the City of Denver will be able to jump in front and get the permit instead.

Currently, applicants for parades or marches and for use of city parks for the kinds of free-speech events popular at political conventions follow a first-come, first-served application process.

The new permitting process would establish a lottery to award permits in cases where more than one group applied for the same parade route or park at the same time — with two exceptions.

If a group had been accustomed to using the route or park for five consecutive years, such as A Taste of Colorado event or Columbus Day parade, it would get priority. That's not likely to pose a serious issue during the convention, Aug. 25-28.

But events "planned, organized or presented by state, federal, or city governmental entities or their agents" would get top priority over any competing claims. - Denver Post

The ACLU and several protest groups are expected to raise questions about the plan at a January 2nd hearing.

Update: Read the letter the ACLU sent to the Office of the Mayor and the Office of the City Attorney here

The ACLU also issued a press release on Friday that you can read here

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Senate approves omnibus bill

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The Senate has approved their version of an omnibus bill that gives $70 billion to Iraq.
The Iraq portion of the bill will go back to the House. If approved it will go to Bush who has said he will sign it as long as there are no strings attached regarding Iraq.

No word on whether the House will allow the Iraq funding. If the past is any indication they will once again bow down to Bush.

If Bush signs the bill both Denver and St. Paul get their $50 million for convention security.

Denver Mayor's office not aware of mile radius lockdown

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Mayor Hickenlooper's office has stated that they have not heard anything about the mile radius lockdown referred to in Saturday's Rocky Mountain News article. They believe the article is inaccurate.

I'm waiting to hear back from the Denver Police Department for a more solid answer.

Stay tuned.

Convention security funding passes House... still not out of the woods

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The House passed an amendment containing $50 million funding for the Democratic National Convention yesterday as part of a massive Omnibus funding bill.

Another amendment to the bill gives $30 billion for the war in Afghanistan but no funding for Iraq. Bush has stated that he will veto anything that doesn't fund his disaster of a war. And before the bill even reaches the White House it needs to pass the Senate which is expected to look at it today.

With the Democrat's slim majority in the Senate the bill is unlikely to pass as is. Most likely a new amendment will be introduced tying Iraq funding to a troop withdrawal.

You can read more information on the bill at the links below.
Rock Mountain News
Washington Post
Google News

Better keep a block of hotel rooms open for Florida

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We've been watching with amusement the game of chicken the DNC is playing with Florida over its early primary. Florida's early primary violates the DNC's rules, so the DNC has responded by saying Florida will not get any delegates, going so far as to not assign a hotel for the Florida delegation. In fact, to find out how many delegates Florida is supposed to get, I had to go to the Florida Democratic Party web site, which shows that Florida will get 210 delegates. (The DNCC site shows 0 delegates for Florida).

But in reality, the DNC is trying to support an illusion that is about to be burst. Here's Nancy Pelosi, who will be the Permanent Chair of the convention:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has let the cat out of the bag and said what everyone has known all along: The Democratic National Committee's removal of all of Florida's 2008 convention delegates for violating party rules about scheduling state primaries before Feb. 5 is meaningless.

Speaking with a covey of political reporters at a lunch in Washington today, Pelosi was asked what she thought of the delegate termination. "That will be determined by the presidential nominee," said Pelosi, who will serve as honorary chair of the convention next August in Denver. "The Democratic National Committee is the ruling authority now," she said, "but the tradition is that the presidential candidate will decide."


Monday, December 17, 2007

$15 million goal met... next goal is in March

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After meeting their December goal last Friday, DNCC fund raisers don't have time to pat themselves on the back. According to CW2 the next fundraising goal is to raise $13 million by March 17th.

"We're talking to individuals, large corporations, small businesses," said Wedgeworth. "It's a comprehensive approach to raising a lot of money."

It's a question that Wedgeworth (Committe President) is confident will be answered in the months to come. In total, Denver must come up with $40 million in cash, and another $15 million in donated goods and services.

"In term of our enthusiasm, on a scale of one to 10, we're like a 15, and we've always been that way," Wedgeworth said. "So I think that's what's helped us get through the whole thing."
If you have a spare $13 million lying around or would like to make a smaller donation to the convention you can get more information here

Mile Radius Lockdown Nightmare

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Like Matt, I was amazed at the proposed mile radius security zone mentioned in this weekend's Rocky Mountain News article about starting Denver Public School's late next year.

Here is an approximate view of what a mile radius looks like around the Pepsi Center.

Even if you've never been to Denver it's obvious what a nightmare a mile radius lockdown would be. Maybe the Denver Police Department isn't big on geometry and meant a mile diameter lockdown? While a 1/2-mile radius would still cause havoc it would be far better than a 2-mile wide loop covering a large majority of downtown Denver.

I'll just mention a few things within a mile radius that will be in lockdown:
- All downtown Denver light rail lines both inbound and outbound.
- The Auraria Campus which is adjacent to the Pepsi Center has already announced that classes will be cancelled during the convention.
- Elitch Gardens amusement park which is also adjacent to the Pepsi Center
- Coors Field
- 16th Street Mall
- All of Denver's largest office buildings including MCI, Qwest, Republic Plaza
- Union Station
- Denver Children's Museum and Denver Aquarium

Boston, while not calling for such a sweeping lockdown, also had major issues during the 2004 Democratic National Convention

The measures include closure of some 40 miles of roads, a vehicle-free zone around the FleetCenter, extensive parking bans, the shutdown of the train service running beneath the FleetCenter, and closure of tunnels to and from Logan International Airport. Acknowledging that all of central Boston would be affected, city officials were urging business owners to give workers flex-time, telecommuting, and vacation options during the convention.

That same day, Burns' office launched a public awareness campaign — “Let's Work Around It” — to help people figure out travel options during the convention. Updated information on transit and road conditions would be available on Boston 2004's Web site ( Even as Burns and city and state officials worked to assuage concerns about the unprecedented travel restrictions, it did not help that two days later New York City, which won the bid to host the Republican National Convention in late August, announced that there would be no major transportation closures in the city.

In St Paul, home of the 2008 Republican National Convention, no announcement has been made as to the extent of the security but officials have stated that protesters will have close access to the convention.
A top St. Paul police official is promising that demonstrators will be able to exercise their free-speech rights close to next year's Republican National Convention. But police have not designated any protest locations, and city officials have yet to issue permits to demonstrators. A watchdog group is threatening legal action if an agreement isn't reached soon. - MPR
We will definitely be following this story closely and will hopefully have a clearer picture of what the lockdown will entail.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Mile wide lockdown around the Pepsi Center?

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This post was going to focus on the Denver Public Schools potentially delaying their start date by 2 weeks next year (from Aug 8 to Sep 2) because of the convention. But lets look a little closer at the reason for the concern:

Denver Public Schools leaders are asking for public input on whether to delay school next fall for two weeks because of security surrounding the Democratic National Convention. The convention, slated for Aug. 25-28 at the Pepsi expected to draw 35,000 people.

But plans to lock down a mile-wide radius around the center for security reasons could wreak havoc with busing and activities at nearby schools. Two dozen DPS schools are located within a mile and a half of the Pepsi Center, and the Emily Griffith Opportunity School is within a couple of blocks.

A mile-wide radius? Are you kidding me? I mean, in New York City they've held conventions in Madison Square Garden, which sits on top of Penn Station, a major commuter hub, with the public allowed access as needed, and certainly, a block away, the sidewalks are fully accessible. A mile covers a huge part of downtown Denver. This just doesn't make sense. If true, Denver is in for a load of logistical headaches.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Denver expects to meet $15 million goal

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Security funding may be on the horizon:

Denver city officials say they expect to meet Friday's deadline to have $15 million in hand for the 2008 Democratic Convention.

It's the latest in a series of benchmarks toward the final goal of having $40 million in cash to stage the August convention.

The city fell about $1.5 million short of the previous goal of $7.5 million in June.

Mayor John Hickenlooper and Chris Lopez, a spokesman for the Denver host committee, both say they're confident the city will hit Friday's benchmark. - Denver Post

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Hotel Assignment Map

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If you're curious as to whose hotel is where and aren't familiar with Denver I've created a map that shows the approximate location of all of the hotels.

All of the downtown hotels are shown in the top left of the map. It looks like 21 delegations got spots downtown. *Michigan may lose their rooms

You can see that Mississippi has the longest hike. Their hotel is on a golf course so it won't be all that bad for them.

Downtown assignments don't seem to be dependent on the 2004 elections. States like Nevada, Kentucky, Virginia and Utah are all downtown.

Ethics Committee sets guidelines on attendance to convention events

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The House Ethics Committee released their guidelines on convention events on Tuesday.
The sweeping new rules should make lobbyists rethink their extravagant plans.

Most important, lobbyists or organizations that employ lobbyists cannot underwrite parties that honor a member or members of Congress by name.

“Thus, an event that is organized to honor a delegation or caucus, without naming any specific Member or the delegation or caucus, or providing any special benefit or opportunity to a particular Member, would be an event that Members may participate in,” the House ethics advisory opinion states.

But ethics experts hired to interpret the rules for lobbyists or their parent organizations are not crying in their beers.- The Hill

Shocking isn't it? They won't be able to say their party is for a specific member or members only for a group (as long as said members of that group are not named).

You can read the entire list of rules here

Presidential Academic Seminar allows students to be a part of the convention

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The Washington Center is hosting a seminar called Campaign 2008: Presidential Academic Seminar Series which will allow students to attend the convention in August.

The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars is pleased to announce the launch of the Campaign 2008 The Presidential Academic Seminar Series, a set of academic seminars covering the 2008 presidential race to the 2009 inauguration. Inside Washington ’08; The National Political Conventions; and The Presidential Inauguration allow students to delve into critical issues surrounding the U.S. presidential election through engaging lectures given by notable professionals with experience in the political arena as well as interesting site visits and programming. Students even have the opportunity to attend the Democratic and Republican National Conventions or the actual swearing in of the 44th United States president!
Click here to get more information and to apply. Good Luck!

Wyoming Governor planning on attending convention

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Wyoming's Democratic Governor Dave Freudenthal will make the 100 mile trip to Denver after not attending a convention since 1984. Although he will attend it doesn't sound like he's too enthusiastic about it.

"I heard from a couple of my daughters, as well as my wife, that I was planning to go to the convention," he said. "I just wasn't aware of that at the time."

Freudenthal skipped the 2004 convention in Boston, even though -- as governor -- he was an automatic superdelegate who had a vote. The only Democratic convention he has attended was San Francisco in 1984.

Freudenthal said he still doesn't like any of the candidates and is frustrated they aren't talking about issues he thinks are important, like the weak U.S. dollar and national debt. Wyoming Democratic Party spokesman Bill Luckett said the state party had expected Freudenthal would attend.

"Beyond the politics of it, this is probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the governor and his family to hop in the family truckster and drive 100 miles down I-25 to go to the national convention," Luckett said. - Casper Star-Tribune

Freudenthal is one of about 800 superdelegates which allows him to nominate a candidate on his own without following his state party's choice.
"I have yet to hear one talk about the impact of the declining dollar in terms of what it has done, and its contribution to the price of oil," Freudenthal said. "It just seems to me from watching the debates and listening to this stuff is all discouraging. I think if your children behaved that way at Thanksgiving dinner, you send them to their room." - Casper Star-Tribune
Pay attention Dennis Kucinich... this may be your chance to get a delegate!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Welcome Oreo

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I just wanted to note that Oreo will be co-blogging with me here. He's already posted some great stuff, and between us we should be able to cover all the issues leading up to the convention. Welcome!

Convention schedules forces quick media turnaround

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The Democratic and Republican conventions are in back-to-back weeks (never happened before in the television age), and this is forcing the media to put special plans in place:

A compressed 2008 primary calendar will force presidential candidates to sprint from state to state beginning with Iowa on Jan. 3. At the other end of the nominating pipeline, an unusually tight window between the Democratic and Republican national conventions will pose its own challenges for news organizations. Only four days separate the end of the Democratic National Convention in Denver and the start of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, a much shorter timeline than the near-month that separated the 2004 conventions.

The quick turn was front and center Monday as Republican convention organizers briefed hundreds of journalists on logistical preparations for the GOP's gathering. Operations managers for news outlets as far away as Japan learned that they might only have a day or two to get from Denver to St. Paul with gear set for a mandatory security sweep.

That security sweep is the gating item. It's usually done a day or two before the convention starts, and afterwards everything has to go through the major security to get into the arena, which often means major delays. So all the big communications equipment needs to be in the arena before the sweep. There will be major logistical headaches for the media leading into the Labor Day weekend. Which is why I noted way back in Feb '06 how Dean's choice of convention dates forced the Republican's hand:
Starting the convention on Labor Day would not be best in terms of media coverage. Do you think the delegates and VIPs want to give up their Labor Day weekend? The media would be grumpy about it also, especially with the Democrats just finishing a few days earlier.
Grumpy media in St. Paul. That's what we want. And the Republicans have no one to blame but themselves for choosing the date.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Almost 900 people vie for delegate slots in Alabama

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The Tuscaloosa News reports that almost 900 people have applied for delegate slots for the 2008 Democratic and Republican conventions. Denver will welcome 69 of the lucky delegates in August of next year.

The Democratic National Convention Committee website has a great interactive map that shows the number of delegates from each state.

It's amazing to think that in less than a year we'll be able to put some names and faces to the numbers.

DNCC names convention security team

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The DNCC has just named Frank Conner as the Director of Security and Jim Malone as the Deputy Directory of Security.

Conner, who spent 35 years with the Denver Police Department, will coordinate security needs with the police and the U.S. Secret Service.

Malone, with more than 30 years at the Denver department, will plan security for the DNCC staff, offices and events. He also will work on a security plan for the DNCC's official hotels and shuttle system. - Denver Business Journal

With the news of the security camera request and today's hirings it looks like the DNCC isn't waiting to get money from Congress before they start planning security.

Application process now open for convention bloggers

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The DNCC has opened the application process for bloggers to obtain credentials for the Democratic National Convention. You can get more info and apply for credentials here
or at the DNCC Blog

DNCC CEO Leah Daughtry answered some great questions from bloggers at RootsCamp about who can apply, volunteering, lodging and many other things.

Thanks to TakeBackTheHouse from SquareState and

And if you're not one of the lucky few who are chosen as a delegate or get press credentials and find yourself in Denver you can still be a part of the action. You can join Progress Now Action and Markos Moulitsas at ProgressCon 2008 a short walk from the convention sites.

Denver Police want to add surveillance cameras for the convention

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The Denver Post reports that the Denver Police Department wants to add 20 surveillance cameras to several areas around downtown Denver. They are hoping that the added surveillance will make the convention more secure.

Police hope to install at least 20 high-tech video cameras by spring that can capture images as detailed as faces and license plates, said police Sgt. Ernie Martinez.

"All officers have radios, but we want to put eyes to those ears," Martinez said. "It puts a cop on every corner for the protection of the citizens in the area."

This leads to the question of who will be paying for these cameras that can cost as much as $20,000 each. With security funding still pending Denver may be stuck with the bill.

Texas delegation's hotel is 10 miles from downtown Denver

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As Matt stated in earlier posts some states were given hotel assignments that they weren't too happy about. Here's yet another story from the great state of Texas.

Texas will be sharing a hotel with American Samoa ten miles from the Pepsi Center when the convention comes to town. According to the Dallas Morning News the Texas delegation will be staying in the Radisson Hotel Denver Southeast which is about a 20-30 minute drive to downtown Denver on a good day with no traffic and a tailwind.

It certainly isn't the first time Texas Democrats got less-than-primo lodgings.

In 2004, in Boston, they got stuck at the airport Hilton – nice enough, but a hike by trolley or shuttle to the convention site. In 1992, it was a Days Inn in New York City's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood.

Maybe if Texas can pull out a win for the Democrats in 2008 they'll get first choice on hotels for 2012.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Still no availability at the Red Lion-Denver

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A quick update on the stripping of Michigan's delegates. Turns out Michigan's been given 30 days notice:

The rule-making body of the Democratic National Committee ... tentatively recommended stripping Michigan of all its 156 delegate slots at the August 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver for setting a primary date of Jan. 15. The DNC panel said the penalty would take effect in 30 days unless the state party submits a delegate selection plan that complies with DNC rules.
According to the DNCC, the delegates haven't actually been taken away yet - that won't happen until after the 30 days expire. So Michigan gets to keep its hotel rooms, for now. But just in case they become available, Colorado Confidential gives us the room details:
"Enjoy the ambiance that soaring ceilings, slate stone columns, rich hardwood fixtures, Tibetan area rugs and a hand-painted mural provide," the website for the Red Lion reads. "Rooms feature brand new furniture, a 27" flat tube TV set along with free high-speed wireless high-speed Internet access and a pool and fitness center."
Wow, a 27'' flat tube TV. Also available for $299 at Best Buy.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Are Michigan's convention rooms available?

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Last week the DNCC stayed consistent, and did not assign any hotel rooms to the Florida delegation, since there is officially no Florida delegation. Well, today, the DNC also stripped Michigan of their delegates:

Democratic leaders voted Saturday to strip Michigan of all its delegates to the national convention next year as punishment for scheduling an early presidential primary in violation of party rules. Michigan, with 156 delegates, has scheduled a Jan. 15 primary. Democratic Party rules prohibit states other than Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina from holding nominating contests before Feb. 5. Florida was hit with a similar penalty in August for scheduling a Jan. 29 primary.
Michigan had been assigned the Red Lion Denver Central. Looks like the Democrats Abroad will have the run of the place.