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Columbus Rallies for the Democratic Convention

Jesse Bethea Jesse Bethea Columbus Rallies for the Democratic Convention
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Ohio has long been a special state in presidential elections, but it could wind up hosting the nominating conventions of both major parties in 2016. On Wednesday, Mayor Michael Coleman and former Governor Ted Strickland will host a “Rally for Columbus 2016” and are inviting the public to show support for Columbus’s bid for the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

“The rally on Wednesday is really about getting the Columbus community excited about the potential of the DNC being in the city,” said Tyneisha Harden, the communications and special projects manager for Mayor Coleman, in an email. Harden said the rally will feature current and former elected officials as well as “countless others who will speak about all of the things that make Columbus a great location for the DNC, but also about how the DNC can benefit our community.”

Coleman has been excited by the prospect of Columbus bidding for a major nominating convention since returning from the 2012 Democratic convention in Charlotte. The team that would ultimately put together Columbus’s formal bid started to come together in October 2013.

“We began this process last fall when Mayor…Coleman hosted an event at the fall DNC meeting in New Orleans, providing a ‘taste’ of Columbus,” said Megumi Robinson, associate director for public relations at Experience Columbus, in an email. “After we received a letter inviting us to bid, we submitted our bid in early June.”

Columbus was also in competition with Cincinnati and Cleveland for the 2016 Republican National Convention, during which time Brent Larkin of the Northeast Ohio Media Group wrote, “Losing out to Columbus would be humiliating and inexcusable.” Ultimately, the Republicans chose Cleveland for 2016.

As for the DNC bidding, Harden believes Columbus is a “great contender” among the remaining cities and has a good shot of winning the convention.

“What sets Columbus apart from the other cities is our community,” said Harden. “As one of the largest state capitals in the U.S., politics is the lifeblood of the city and delegates will find not only a vibrant, engaging city, but a community that welcomes the debates and discussions that, in Columbus, have led to government that works.”

Harden also said that Mayor Coleman believes Columbus is in “the beginning phases of a renaissance” and that hosting a nominating convention will put the city on the national stage. She also made it clear that the city is in a solid position to hold such an event.

“Columbus is more prepared than ever before to host a convention of this size,” said Harden. “We have a great convention center, arena, hotels, and other venues ready to accommodate the DNC.”

Experience Columbus and the Mayor’s office are coordinating very closely in preparation for the two-day visit by the DNC selection team and hope that Wednesday’s rally at Battelle Plaza will show the Democrats Columbus’s enthusiasm for this convention.

“We’re giving it all we have to show the selection team that Columbus can bring it in 2016,” said Robinson.

More information about Wednesday’s rally can be found at www.columbus2016dnc.com.

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