Philadelphia lands spot on short list to host 2016 Democratic National Convention


Philadelphia last hosted a party convention in 2000


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City and state representatives vie for Philadelphia as the hosting city for the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Other cities in consideration include Birmingham, Cleveland, Columbus, New York and Phoenix.

Photo by Mounika Kanneganti


Philadelphia could be the scene of the next Democratic presidential nomination.

The Democratic National Committee revealed on Saturday, June 7 the six final candidate cities for the 2016 convention — and Philadelphia made the cut.

In April, the Committee initially invited 15 cities to submit bids, but only Birmingham, Cleveland, Columbus, New York, Philadelphia and Phoenix submitted proposals by the deadline.

“Hosting a party convention is a true honor and we’re thrilled with all the fantastic options that we have going into the next cycle,” Democratic Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a press release.

Convention bids will be appraised by a Technical Advisory Committee in a process including site visit and other inquiries. Wasserman Schultz will release the final decision later in 2014 or early in 2015.

Selection criteria include whether the city has facilities capable of staging the event and if there are enough hotels to accommodate the delegates and media.

“By nature of being a popular tourist destination, Philadelphia already has first-class hotels and a comprehensive public transportation system,” Penn Democrats President Amiyr Jackson said, noting that the city commonly stages large events such as the Welcome America 4th of July celebration, the Made in America music festival and the Philadelphia Marathon.

Of the six competing cities, New York City most recently hosted the Republican Party in its 2004 National Convention in Madison Square Garden. Philadelphia is the only other candidate to have hosted a significant party convention. In 2000, George W. Bush was officially nominated in the First Union Center — which is now the Wells Fargo Center.

U.S. Rep. Robert “Bob” Brady [D-PA1], spoke to Philadelphia’s merit as the potential host city.

“[Philadelphia] is the birthplace of democracy and liberty ... we have great tourist attractions and restaurants,” Brady said. “We did a great job in the year of 2000. [People are] still raving about it.”

New York mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration pitched a 200-page formal bid to hold the convention in the Barclays Center near Brooklyn — the mayor’s home borough — rather than in Manhattan itself. New York also has the advantage of being potential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton’s political home turf, as she represented the state from 2001 through 2009.

Brady, Jackson and Penn Dems Vice President Jane Meyer, all contested New York’s advantages over Philadelphia.

“If Hillary ends up as a nominee you can imagine people from New York will be voting for her anyway,” Brady said.

Meyer pointed out that Clinton also has a connection to Pennsylvania. “Her father is from Scranton and she spent part of her childhood in Pennsylvania...she has some personal roots in this state, which not many people highlight,” she said.

Jackson noted that New York is a “reliably blue state and it makes more sense to grow the base in other parts of the country.” He added that Pennsylvania is a swing state that “plays an important role in presidential politics.”

The Republican National Committee has already narrowed down its potential location to either Denver, Dallas, Cleveland or Kansas City — Cincinnati and Las Vegas were booted out in May. The Republicans’ final decision will be announced in the fall.

A Philadelphia-hosted DNC would be also be a major boon for the university.

“Having the convention in Philadelphia would allow the vibrant political community at Penn to experience campaign politics firsthand and spark interest in the election among those who typically haven’t been politically involved,” Meyer said.

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