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US Democrats Put Off Decision On Convention Site To Early January December 20, 2006

Posted by notapundit in Politics, US News.

NEW YORK (AP)–Democrats have put off a decision on choosing a 2008 national convention site until early January, hard-pressed to pick between Denver and New York, officials said Tuesday.

Party officials have been negotiating for months with host committees for New York and Denver, but a series of problems with Denver’s bid – and a significant cooling of interest from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg – led Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean to seek more time to make a decision.

“Chairman Dean is going to make the best decision for the party based on the merits of each city’s bid… Because of the holiday week, and at the request of both cities, we will announce the convention city in early January,” DNC press secretary Stacie Paxton said in a statement.

Denver, which has mounted an enthusiastic campaign to win the convention, has struggled with labor issues, fundraising and logistical challenges such as finding sufficient hotel rooms. Democrats thought Denver had resolved some of its labor problems when Colorado’s AFL-CIO approved a resolution last month in support of Denver’s convention bid.

But problems grew this week when Jim Taylor, head of city’s influential stagehand union, refused to sign an agreement promising not to strike if the convention came to Denver.

Debbie Willhite, executive director of Denver’s host committee, said a lack of full union support for the city’s bid is “probably a deal-breaker” but expressed confidence the matter could be negotiated.

The problems are different in New York. While the city’s host committee has pledged to raise the money necessary to hold the convention, Bloomberg said Tuesday that the fundraising would be significantly more difficult than he once believed.

“The city can’t go on the hook for a convention unless they’re reasonably sure they can raise the money,” he said, noting that New York had financed the 2004 Republican convention entirely through private fundraising.

“We’d like conventions to come here and spend money and be a net positive for this city, so while it was in the last case because we financed it all privately, I’m not sure we could do that again,” he said.


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