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Columbus Among Three Finalists for Democratic Convention

Jesse Bethea Jesse Bethea Columbus Among Three Finalists for Democratic ConventionPhoto via bringitcolumbus.com.
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The city of Columbus has long been trying to secure a national party convention for the 2016 Presidential Election and now it finds itself one step closer. On Monday, the Democratic National Committee announced it has whittled the list of potential host cities down to three; Philadelphia, New York and Columbus.

Mayor Michael Coleman’s administration has been pursuing a national convention for almost a year and the city made a bid not only for the DNC, but for the Republican National Convention as well. In July, the Republican National Committee announced its intention to hold their convention in Cleveland.

In August, the DNC site selection team spent two days visiting Columbus, during which local officials held a rally showcasing the city’s commitment to hosting the convention. The DNC team was shown the Convention Center, the Short North, COSI, the Arena District and other points of interest around town. The team also toured the Ohio Stadium, a possible location for the Democratic candidate to accept his or her nomination in 2016.

Local Democrats and city officials at the time largely considered the visit to be successful, which now appears to be an accurate assessment. Then and now, many have said that Columbus’ status as the capital of a vital swing state makes it an attractive choice for the Democrats, especially with the Republicans gathering in Cleveland the same summer. In August, Tyneisha Harden, communications and special projects coordinator at the Mayor’s office, told Columbus Underground the presence of the GOP in Cleveland, “gives the Democrats an even bigger reason to come to Columbus.”

“Ohio is the most sought after swing state, and it’s more important than ever that Columbus hosts the 2016 Democratic National Convention,” said Mayor Coleman in a press release issued Monday.

In the same press release, David Wilhelm, chair of the Columbus 2016 Steering Committee, invoked the recent, and for Democrats, painful election season by saying, “If Democrats are going to win the next election, we are going to need to compete in the heartland and we are going to need to do a far better job of it than we did in the midterms.”

“There is no better signal of our intent to compete and win in the heartland than to choose Columbus as the site of our convention,” continued Wilhelm.

The final choice for the convention host city will not be announced until early in 2015. In addition to announcing the three finalist cities, the DNC provided three possible dates for the 2016 convention; the weeks of July 18, July 25 or August 22.

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