Minneapolis-Saint Paul Deliver Bids for Democratic, Republican National Conventions
Events would bring 30,000 people and a large amount of media attention to the metro area in 2008
Officials from Minneapolis and Saint Paul announced today that the cities will submit bids for the 2008 Democratic and Republican National Conventions. The announcement was made by Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak at a press conference this morning at Nicollet Island Inn Pavilion, near the site of the old Expo Center where Minneapolis hosted the Republican National Convention in 1892. Key organizations involved include the Minneapolis Convention and Visitors Association and Saint Paul RiverCentre Convention and Visitors Authority, with contributions from businesses throughout the metro area.
The bid for the Democratic National Convention will be delivered today by Democratic Rep. Jim Oberstar and Democratic Sen. Martin Sabo to the Democratic National Committee office in Washington, D.C. It is anticipated that 11 cities will enter the bidding process for the national convention, to be held Aug. 24-29, 2008. Thirty cities were invited to submit bids for the Republican National Convention, to be held Aug. 31 through Sept. 4, 2008. Minneapolis-Saint Paul’s bid will be hand-delivered by Republican Sen. Norm Coleman on Monday.
"We are well prepared to work together to host these conventions in 2008," said Mayor Rybak. "Individually, both Saint Paul and Minneapolis are strong contenders, but together, they offer a stunning package for one of the largest and most logistically challenging groups – a national political convention." Venues in both cities are recommended as potential convention complex sites: the Metrodome and Target Center in Minneapolis and Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul.
"With our strong political and corporate base, volunteer-oriented citizens, quality venues and an overall attractive destination, we have first-rate competitive bids that will stand up against the other cities in the running," Mayor Coleman added. "And, it’s a truly a bi-partisan effort.
AN ECONOMIC BOOST FOR THE AREA
Hosting a national political convention is considered extremely valuable for a city – both economically and for visibility. According the Democratic National Committee, the 2004 Democratic National Convention held in Boston resulted in an economic impact of $156 million. "Each would fill nearly all hotel rooms in the entire Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area, not to mention spill a large amount of spending into our hospitality and service businesses throughout the cities and state," said Minneapolis Convention & Visitors Association President & CEO Greg Ortale. "A national political convention would rank among the largest events the metro area has ever hosted – rivaling the 2001 NCAA Final Four in terms of size and impact."
Both conventions are expected to cost in excess of $50 million – a combination of cash, goods and in-kind services. The majority of the cash and goods needed would come from private and corporate donations on a local and national level, with other in-kind support coming from each city, county and the State.
Beyond hard dollars, the immeasurable value can come from the spotlight shining on the city. "In terms of generating national and international exposure for the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area, hosting a national political convention would be beyond our wildest dreams," said Saint Paul RiverCentre Convention & Visitors Authority President Karolyn Kirchgesler. "It would draw a massive amount of national and international media attention, as the events are heavily covered via print, broadcast and web-based media outlets."
In the next few weeks, both parties will narrow the pool of cities being considered and schedule site visits during the summer. The last time a national convention was held in Minnesota, the Republicans nominated the incumbent, Benjamin Harrison, who went on to lose the race to Grover Cleveland, the nation’s 24th president. "One hundred sixteen years is a long drought. It’s high time we brought a major political convention back to Minneapolis-Saint Paul," said Mayor Rybak. "We look forward to hosting the nomination of the nation’s 44th president in 2008."
Published May. 19, 2006