Philadelphia ready to woo Democrats in convention bid

Posted: August 13, 2014

When the army of 18 Democratic National Committee representatives arrive in Philadelphia Wednesday, they will be greeted with plenty of Philadelphia swag and treated to a tour of the city's most treasured sites.

As the 2016 Democratic National Convention site-selection committee arrived to a red carpet in New York City Monday, Philadelphia operatives were putting final touches to their plan to woo the committee later this week.

Members of the selection committee will receive their own Sixers, Eagles, Phillies, and Union jerseys with their last names printed on the back, according to Kevin Washo, who is involved in the planning. Also included will be custom-made Duke & Winston T-shirts with the DNC PHL logo on them.

But the jerseys and tees will probably stay tucked away in their suitcases since most of the events held for the crew will have a little better dress code.

"Summer stylish attire" reads the invitation to the rooftop soiree Wednesday at the Stratus lounge at Hotel Monaco. The site-selection committee, which includes DNC CEO Amy Dacey, and other invited guests will enjoy cocktails and desserts at Stratus as they mingle with city politicians leading the effort to persuade the DNC to choose Philadelphia for its 2016 convention.

Philadelphia is one of five cities left in the running to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Aside from New York, Philly faces competition from Phoenix, Birmingham, Ala., and Columbus, Ohio. (The Republican National Committee recently selected Cleveland for its convention.)

The nonprofit established to promote the event, Philadelphia 2016, plans to spend $900,000 between now and November in support of the city's bid.

The nonprofit committee, led by former Philadelphia mayor and Pennsylvania governor Edward G. Rendell, will spend about $85,000 during the two-day visit, said Kevin Feeley, a spokesman for the nonprofit group. At least another $115,000 will be in-kind contributions, such as the breakfast Comcast will host with various business leaders in the region and catering services donated by Stephen Starr.

The city will not be paying for any of the site- selection committee's visit, Mayor Nutter's spokesman Mark McDonald said.

The team of DNC officials, with expertise in transportation, security, and other logistics, are expected to arrive Wednesday morning at the Radisson Blu Warwick, where they will check in and then be whisked away to Pat's King of Steaks for the quintessential Philadelphia meal - cheesesteaks.

The tour will continue south to the Wells Fargo Center, where officials will check out the site that the city proposes for the convention to be held. They will also swing by XFINITY Live.

The rest of the day will consist of touring the Convention Center, Reading Terminal Market, and Independence Hall.

After their swanky night at Stratus Rooftop Lounge, the committee officials will have breakfast Thursday at the Comcast Center.

Thursday is the day when the visiting and host committees will get down to business and have meetings to discuss logistics such as security.

The group will then visit more tourist sites such as the National Constitution Center, the Barnes Foundation, the Art Museum steps, and the Rocky statue.

A 2016 convention site selection is expected at the end of the year.


cvargas@phillynews.com

215-854-5520

@InqCVargas

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