Minneapolis-Saint Paul named a finalist for 2008 Democratic National Convention
Democratic National Committee to visit Minneapolis-Saint Paul June 26-28
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman announced today that their joint bid to host the 2008 Democratic National Convention has made the short list of finalists. The news was announced today at a press conference overlooking the Mississippi River from the bridge of the beautiful new Guthrie Theater and included officials from both cities and both political parties.
Minneapolis-Saint Paul is one of four cites to make the final list for the Democratic convention, which would likely bring more than 17,000 people to the area. Other finalist cities vying for the Democratic convention include New York, Denver and New Orleans. Minneapolis-Saint Paul is the only location other than New York City currently in the running for both Democratic and Republican conventions.
Officials also announced today that a team from the Democratic National Committee will make a site visit to Minneapolis and Saint Paul on June 26-28. Site visits are perhaps the most important opportunity for cities to showcase their ability to host large conventions, raise the needed financial support, and generate local excitement for the event.
"As a Democrat or a Republican, if you really look at the next Presidential election, you can see that it will be decided on the Mississippi River in places like Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Louisiana," said Mayor Rybak. "We haven’t had a chance like this in 100 years and no one will work harder than we will to get one of these conventions."
"Today’s news shows that this can really happen for the Twin Cities. We will continue to work together to show we are an ideal location for the DNC convention," Mayor Coleman added. "I’m confident the DNC site visit will show our facilities are second to none and prove that we have a lot of excitement in Minnesota for the chance to host the convention."
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 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."
As many as 11 cities submitted bids to the Democratic National Convention, to be held Aug. 24-29, 2008. Thirty cities submitted bids for the Republican National Convention, to be held Aug. 31 through Sept. 4, 2008. In the next few weeks, local officials will spend much time planning for a successful site visit with the national Democratic convention team. Republican officials are expected to announce finalists and locations for their site visits in the coming weeks. "Having the interest from both political parties raises the bar for both parties," said Mayor Rybak. "This could come down to a really interesting race to see which convention gets us first. We certainly like being the center of attention."
Published May. 25, 2006