Columbus Leaders Vow To Bid Again For Future Political Convention
Columbus has lost its bid to host a national political convention. The Democratic National Committee decided Philadelphia was better suited as the site to nominate its presidential candidate. Disappointed civic and business leaders promise to use the experience to try again in four years. An economic boost Michael Coleman says the Democratic convention would have been a political and economic plum for the city. "I'm a proud mayor. And, I hate losing, but I'don't feel bad about this," says Coleman. At a postmortem news conference at city hall, the mayor celebrated the community effort to lure the convention. He said the bid positioned the city to bigger and better things. Columbus lost out to Philadelphia. A city with three times the population and a political legacy that dates to the formation of the United States. An underdog "An underdog, to go into this fight, to end up in the finals. And in the final days you never know if it's coming to us, if it's going to the other city. We didn't get it this time," says Coleman. The Democrats' convention would have been a first for Columbus. City leaders touted affordability, downtown walkability and Ohio's role as a key political swing state. A business advocacy group, The Columbus Partnership, helped the city prepare its bid. "We're disappointed, and we thought over the last week or so, based on conversations that we were having that we were in a very strong position to win," says Alex Fischer, Chair of the Columbus Partnership. Small city problems But transportation access and a limited ability to raise money hurt the city's bid. The Democratic National Committee requires the host city to raise $60-million to help cover convention costs. Fischer says the Columbus business community had so far, committed $30-million to support the bid. "We had a package that had raised one half of the money that was required, that met the logistical requirements that had unbelievable opportunity at our convention center and arena, and we fell short," says Fischer. Fischer says the Columbus Partnership put a clamp" on the business community to rally behind the convention bid. Could't match Philadelphia But US Senator Sherrod Brown said the city just couldn't match Philly. "As much as the business community in Columbus, Mayor Coleman and others stepped up, I think the national party was concerned about how much the city of Columbus and the business community, private and public, would be able to raise," says Brown. Business leaders say they now will support Cleveland when it hosts the Republican national convention. Leaders promise Columbus will bid for one of the 2020 national conventions.