Denver, New York Differ In Bid Banter
Denver and New York have radically different approaches to wooing the Democratic National Convention in 2008:
The two cities bidding to host the Democratic National Convention have done so with styles that could not be more different.Colorado's Democrats have been selling Denver to Democrat big-wigs as the "new frontier":
Denver officials, conscious of the fact that their city is an unknown entity for the Democrats, have made a highly public effort to push Denver's strength as a burgeoning Democratic base and counter concerns about fundraising and lodging issues.
New York, which has hosted five party conventions since Denver hosted its only one in 1908, has remained quietly suave and debonair as Denver scrambles to woo the Democratic suitor.
"Denver's got a larger sales job to do," New York Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf said. "New York, from an accommodations standpoint, has an easier job to do."
With a decision from Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean due in just a day or two, Denver officials readily agree with Sheinkopf, comparing their effort to a David-and-Goliath kind of struggle.
"We've had to show a little more leg," said Debbie Willhite, the executive director of Denver's host committee. "We're a little bit of an unknown quantity for the Democrats."
The difference is tangible. When Dean called Bill Ritter last month to congratulate the Democrat on being elected governor of Colorado, Ritter took the opportunity to lobby for the 2008 party convention.Denver hopes that novelty and recent Democratic inroads in the past few elections will push it to the top. Seeking to avoid the "fly-over" view of East-coasters, a Western convention would put more eyes on more moderate, not quite-liberal-elite type of candidates and voters that states like Colorado elect and support. If the Democrats want to avoid being a bi-coastal party, then asserting their presence in having a Denver convention might be their best choice.
"We all understand what a big economic boon it would be not just for the city, but for the entire state," Ritter said. Estimates, which are in dispute, suggest metro Denver could feel a $160 million economic impact from the 35,000 delegates and reporters descending on the city.
Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper has been actively campaigning for the convention for months, vowing to push governors of eight states around Colorado to raise money for a "Western convention."
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