breaking news

Crowds line up in Springfield stores for $700M Powerball jackpot

Some optimistic Ohio could land both 2016 party conventions

Major effort underway to have Democratic convention in Columbus after Republicans announced they are going to Cleveland.

Cleveland’s selection as host for the 2016 Republican National Convention has Columbus hoping that Ohio fever spreads.

The city hopes that the same logic that spurred the Republican National Committee to pick Cleveland – swing state politics, a thriving economy – causes the Democratic National Committee to pick Columbus over four other cities to host the 2016 Democratic National Committee.

By picking Columbus, they argue, the Democrats could negate any swing state momentum spurred by the influx of Republicans into northern Ohio.

On a more obvious front, Cleveland, which was also vying to host the Democratic National Convention, is essentially eliminated from the running because it was tapped by the RNC. The DNC has an exclusivity clause which would bar a city from hosting both conventions once a contract is signed. The RNC contract with Cleveland is now in negotiations.

“We’re going to make history,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. “I feel good about Columbus’ chances.”

“I do hope it helps Columbus’ chances to get the DNC,” said Ed FitzGerald, Cuyahoga County Executive and the Democratic candidate for governor, who said his efforts to help land the Republican Convention in Cleveland have now shifted to getting the Democratic convention in Columbus.

Republicans also are optimistic. Columbus-area U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Genoa Twp., said if he were Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, he’d argue that picking Columbus for the Democratic convention could mitigate any advantage that picking Cleveland gave to the Republicans. “Columbus is in a uniquely good position, particularly with Coleman advocating on the Democratic side,” he said.

A technical advisory committee to the Democratic National Committee will visit Columbus in early August, visiting the other cities between late July and early September. DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz plans to announce a final decision in late 2014 or early 2015.

Were Columbus to be selected, it would be the first time one state has held both parties’ conventions since 1972, when the Republicans and Democrats gathered in Miami. In 1952, the Republicans and Democrats held their conventions in Chicago.

Miami, recalls former Ohio Republican Party Chair Robert T. Bennett, didn’t go particularly smoothly, and the parties shied away from hosting in the same city, with the Democrats creating an exclusivity clause barring a city from hosting both conventions. But those clauses don’t bar two cities in the same state from hosting.

“Columbus is ready for this, as Cleveland is ready for this,” said Brown.

But others are skeptical. One question will be whether the state can raise the money to host two conventions. Cleveland must raise $60 million for its GOP convention and Democrats as well are being asked to put up a healthy sum in order to host.

While Cleveland companies such as Eaton, Sherwin-Williams and KeyBank aggressively pursued the GOP convention, privately there are some business officials in Central Ohio who worry that an all-out effort to win the Democratic convention could come at the expense of other vital projects.

Those in the business community insist that Columbus is in it to win it. The city also put in a bid for the Republican National Convention but was eliminated early in the process.

“I can tell you I never go off doing things like I am doing for both conventions if my membership wasn’t supportive and that usually includes our entire membership and starts with our executive committee,” said Alex Fischer, president and chief executive officer of the Columbus Partnership, which represents most of the major companies in Central Ohio.

Brown said he does not believe raising the money would be a problem, because Columbus and Cleveland both have thriving business communities. He said the only potential overlap would be with the state, which has agreed to spend $10 million for the GOP convention.

“I would think Governor Kasich would want the Democratic Convention in Columbus as much as I want the Republican convention in Cleveland,” he said. “Which is a lot.”

Jack Torry and Catherine Candisky contributed to this story.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community News

Taylor Swift’s new album title, release date announced
Taylor Swift’s new album title, release date announced

The wait is over for Swifties -- Taylor Swift has announced details of her new album. >> Read more trending news “Reputation,” Swift’s sixth album, will be released Nov. 10. The title of the first single hasn’t been revealed, but the song will arrive Thursday evening. Swift decorated her Instagram page Wednesday with...
Maria Menounos to join Miss America judge panel
Maria Menounos to join Miss America judge panel

Not long after revealing she was diagnosed with a brain tumor and stepping down from her on-air position with E! News, Maria Menounos has joined the Miss America judging panel, PEOPLE magazine reported. >> Read more trending news Menounos, who was Miss Massachusetts Teen USA in 1996, will be joined by five other celebrities to choose...
I was detained for protesting Trump. Here's what the Secret Service asked me.
I was detained for protesting Trump. Here's what the Secret Service asked me.

Like many events that end up with a person in handcuffs, my story begins in a bar. I was in Atlanta earlier this month for Netroots Nation, the annual meeting of progressive organizers and writers, when I overheard friends discussing how to resist President Trump's first visit to Trump Tower. I jumped into the conversation: "Well, you call me...
Amal, George Clooney donate $1 million to anti-hate group after Charlottesville violence
Amal, George Clooney donate $1 million to anti-hate group after Charlottesville violence

George and Amal Clooney have donated $1 million to Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit that strives to put an end to domestic hate groups and extremists, in response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month. >> Read more trending news  “What happened in Charlottesville, and what is happening in communities...
Queen, Freddie Mercury biopic cast set
Queen, Freddie Mercury biopic cast set

Rami Malek, the star of USA’s “Mr. Robot” was already tapped to play Queen’s flamboyant lead singer Freddie Mercury. The movie now has the rest of the iconic band cast. Ben Hardy, who was in “X-Men Apocalypse”, will be portraying the band’s drummer, Roger Taylor. Gwilym Lee, of “The Tourist,” will...
More Stories