Rendell takes Philadelphia DNC pitch to Washington
Former Gov. Ed Rendell brought a little Philadelphia attitude down to the nation’s capital Monday afternoon.
Rendell was part of the group sent to Washington, D.C. to help convince the Democratic National Committee that the City of Brotherly Love should host the party’s 2016 National Convention.
The former Philadelphia mayor touted the city’s large amount of Democratic voters, its public transportation system, its large amount of hotel rooms focused in Center City, its diversity in population, and its recent track record of hosting large events in his argument.
“It’s also one of the few places in America where President Barack Obama got a bigger margin of victory in 2012,” Rendell said. “In 2012 he won with a margin of 492,000 and in 2008 he won with 478,000. In most places it went down.”
Rendell, who is chairman of the nonprofit Philadelphia 2016, which is tasked with raising money for the convention, said one of the committee’s first concerns was whether the city could raise enough money to finance the convention. Rendell said he told the committee the city raised enough money when the city hosted the Republican National Convention in 2000.
He said out of the other finalists — Columbus, Ohio; Brooklyn; Birmingham, Cleveland; Phoenix — Columbus was probably the stiffest competition.
“And we have a lot of advantages over Columbus,” he said. “Columbus has never really handled a big event.”
Another big contender is Brooklyn and its 2-year-old Barclays Center, which is home to the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.
“Remember it’s not Manhattan,” Rendell said. “And I think that’s a long way to go from where the hotels are.”
As for a timetable, he said the committee will whittle the contenders down to three and then conduct site visits and make a final decision in late November or early December.
“But that’s plenty of time,” he said. “The convention would be the last two weeks in August 2016. So even if they let us know in December we’d have 19 months to get ready.”
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