Democrats Solicit 15 Bids for 2016 Convention Site

Democrats Solicit 15 Bids for 2016 Convention Site
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In the first major step toward selecting the city where the next Democratic presidential standard-bearer will be nominated, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz sent a letter Monday to the mayors of 15 interested cities, asking them to submit bids for the party’s 2016 national convention. 

The cities that received a formal request for proposal, as first reported by CNN and confirmed by RealClearPolitics, are Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Miami, Nashville, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City. 

“While many of the requirements are specific to the various logistical and administrative goals of putting on the Democratic National Convention, we do seek a city that shares our values of equality, inclusion, diversity, respect and dignity,” Wasserman Schultz wrote in the letter. “And because of the significant security and construction-related issues that we will face, we also look for a city with strong relationships with organized labor and those they represent. Our priority is to work with a community that will partner with us as we plan this historic event.” 

Interested mayors have until 5 p.m. on June 6 to submit their bids for an event that will cost upwards of $60 million but has the capacity to bring in tens of millions of dollars in revenue for the winning city.  

According to a DNC official, the submitted bids will be reviewed internally before a decision on which city will host the event is made sometime late this year or early in 2015. 

The DNC’s leadership team, an informal committee of specialists on issues like transportation and communication, and the Obama White House all will all have a say on which city is chosen. 

This open-ended approach contrasts with the regimented process by which the Republican National Committee is using to select its 2016 convention site. The RNC has for months been engaged in an elimination-style procedure somewhat reminiscent of a reality TV dating show, in which contestants are eliminated publicly in batches.  

Earlier this month, the RNC announced that its site-selection committee had narrowed the list of contenders to Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, and Las Vegas. 

After winnowing that group to three or four cities during its spring meeting in Memphis next month, the selection panel is expected to make its final recommendation to the full Republican National Committee by late summer, with the winning bidder announced shortly thereafter.  

As part of an effort to overhaul its presidential nominating process and put its nominee in a better financial position for the general election, the RNC is eyeing an abbreviated 2016 nominating calendar with a convention in late June or early to mid-July -- more than a month earlier than recent conventions have been held. 

Unlike their Republican counterparts, however, national Democrats have not been eager to upend their nominating calendar. For that reason, their convention is likely to come after the Republican gathering in 2016.  

“There’s been no discussion of dramatically moving the date of where the convention falls on the calendar,” a DNC official told RCP. “We’re just not making a lot of changes to our process. It’s worked pretty well for us.”

Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at sconroy@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

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