Phila. launches bid to get Dems' 2016 convention

"The value to the city is priceless," Rendell said of the bid to bring to 2016 Democratic National Convention to Philadelphia.
"The value to the city is priceless," Rendell said of the bid to bring to 2016 Democratic National Convention to Philadelphia.
Posted: March 23, 2014

Former mayors, city politicians, labor bosses, and other influential leaders from across the Philadelphia region gathered Friday morning to plan how to bring the 2016 Democratic National Convention to the City of Brotherly Love.

A nonprofit will be created and led by former Mayor and Gov. Ed Rendell to raise upward of $50 million for the event, which organizers said could be held at the Wells Fargo Center.

"The value to the city is priceless," Rendell said at a news conference.

He said the city would not have to put up direct cash - police overtime would be covered with a $50 million federal grant for post-9/11 security.

Philadelphia hosted the 2000 Republican National Convention. But Democrats have not convened here in decades.

"We're a strong Democratic town," City Council President Darrell L. Clarke said as he left Friday's gathering. "We'll have a really strong bid."

Other cities hoping to host the Democrats include two in Ohio - Columbus and Cleveland.

"I don't know what the hell is in Columbus ... as compared to the city of Philadelphia," U.S. Rep. Bob Brady (D., Pa.) said.

Absent from the gathering was Mayor Nutter, who is heading to Rome to meet with Pope Francis in an effort to bring him to the Catholic Church's World Meeting of Families here in 2015.

On Thursday, Nutter said hosting a political convention was a "significant undertaking" requiring lots of logistics and costs. "It can be a good thing for any city," he said. "At the same time, you also have to balance all of the issues that are involved."

Still, Rendell said, Nutter has promised his full support.

Can the city handle two massive events about a year apart?

Yes, Rendell said.

"We can do big things," he said. He added that security for the pope's visit would be "a nice run-through for the convention."

After the Democratic National Committee puts out a formal request for proposals in the coming weeks, Rendell said, the nonprofit will submit a bid. "We intend to go after this hard; we intend to move quickly."

The winner will be announced in the fall.


cvargas@phillynews.com

215-854-5520

@InqCVargas

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