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January 11, 2007 07:24 PM UTC

DENVER WINS DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION

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  • by: JT

By George Merritt
Denver Post Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 01/11/2007 09:26:52 AM MST

The Denver Skyline (AP / David Zalubowski)

National Democrats will announce today that they have picked Denver over New York for the 2008 Democratic National Convention, according to several sources close to the process.

Denver’s imminent selection would bring the high-profile political gathering to the Pepsi Center in August 2008. About 35,000 delegates and journalists are expected for what business leaders hope will mean a more than $160 million boon for the city.

The decision comes after problems with both the Denver and New York bids forced the Democratic National Committee to delay its choice for weeks.

Chairman Howard Dean had planned to pick a city before 2007. But just as an announcement was expected, Denver hit “a possible deal-breaker” when a local union refused to promise not to strike during the convention.

Just as Denver was realizing its problems, New York – which rested the strength of its bid on its financial clout – announced it likely could not raise the money.

For months politicians and other officials from Montana to New Mexico have pushed Denver’s bid for the convention as a way of tapping a new political resource for the Democrats. Chairman Dean’s decision comes as an acknowledgement of his party’s potential in the West.

Locally, city officials are touting the victory as the Mile High City’s next stair-step toward becoming a major U.S. city.

Democrats had to weigh the city’s maturity against its political potential in making the choice. In the months-long campaign for the convention, Denver was often a sentimental favorite, but the practicality of holding a large convention in a city of about 550,000 people created skepticism.

Questions about whether Denver officials could convince party leaders that the Denver community could raise the necessary millions of dollars and provide thousands of hotel rooms lingered throughout.

By contrast, New York’s rival bid for the convention was grounded in its reputation as a convention regular and a financial juggernaut. The city has hosted five conventions since Denver last did, including the 2004 Republican National Convention.

But enthusiasm for the convention in New York waned as 2007 approached. In early January, Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters “we’re just not in the business of paying for” coventions, according to the New York Times.

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