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De Blasio defends DNC bid efforts despite loss to Philly

Despite months of cheerleading and fundraising, Mayor Bill deBlasio'sdream of selectiRob Bennett/Mayoral Photography Office

"Swing and a miss, Bill," tweeted the official New York State Republican Party account Thursday morning on when news broke the Democratic National Convention would skip Brooklyn in 2016.

Despite months of cheerleading and fundraising, Mayor Bill de Blasio's dream of selecting the next Democratic presidential candidate in his home borough went up in smoke with news that the party would head to Philadelphia next year.

The announcement followed intensive campaigning and fundraising that started last summer. At the end of January, City Hall announced it had $6.5 million cash on hand and $20 million in pledges to throw the political bash at the Barclays Center.

De Blasio told Metro at City Hall the money raised would be returned to the donors, with a full accounting to come in a report next week.

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"We're going to publish a report on all the money that came in…to show the energy of the fundraising effort," the mayor said.

The mayor's office did not immediately respond to Metro's questions about how much money it had spent on its marketing efforts, which included a series of videos with local celebrities paid for by the city's tourism agency.

De Blasio thanked the 119 host committee members who threw their support behind the bid, including Napster founder Sean Parker, Vogue editor Anna Wintour, union leaders, banking magnates and real estate developers.

At a press conference Thursday, de Blasi dismissed speculation that the Democratic National Committee was negatively swayed by his administration's recent problems with police union leadership.

"I talked to countless people in Washington, as did the team, and it was not raised by a single person," de Blasio told reporters.

Following a committee visit to the Barclays Center in August that included a blue carpet, marching band and a host of local leaders, the Sergeants Benevolent Association issued an open letter in the New York Times and the New York Post warning the DNC of "dangerous choices" by de Blasio.

"While the Barclays Center is still new and glistening, the great city in which it stands is lurching backwards to the bad old days of high crime, danger-infested public spaces, and families that walk our streets worried for their safety," the letter read.

New York City hasn't hosted a political convention since the 2004 Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden, which at the time cost $154 million to stage and $18 million in settlements for dozens of lawsuits filed by arrested protesters.

City officials said the priorities for deciding on a location boiled down to resources, logistics and security. City Hall had pledged to raise $100 million, secure lodging and transportation and make the NYPD available for safety needs.

"We checked all those boxes," de Blasio said. "And I can't figure out something that could have been done differently. But you know, sometimes you play the game right and another team still wins."

 
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