Arts & Entertainment, etc. and Conventions and Tourism & Hospitality

UPDATE: Indy 'unlikely' to seek 2016 party conventions

April 22, 2014

Don't count on Indianapolis hosting either the Democratic or Republican national conventions in 2016.

Mayor Greg Ballard's spokesman said Tuesday the city is "unlikely" to submit bids to host either of the conventions. Indianapolis is among the 15 cities that the Democratic National Committee has invited to vie for the event, CNN reported Tuesday.

Ballard spokesman Marc Lotter said both major parties reached out to the city, but the city's tourism officials have already booked other events through much of 2016.

"Given our previously scheduled major events such as the NCAA Men’s Final Four in 2015, NCAA Women’s Final Four in 2016, 2016 Olympic trials and other conventions; it is highly unlikely Indy could provide the space and private funds needed to host either major party national convention in 2016," Lotter said.

Lotter noted that the parties typically require host cities to raise millions of dollars as part of the hosting agreement.

Indianapolis Democratic Party Chairman Joel Miller lashed out at the Ballard administration's explanation, claiming it was "blatantly political." He noted the city has successfully hosted many other high-profile events.

"The excuse that we don’t have enough hotel space and private funding to attract a political convention is simply ludicrous," Miller said.

Indianapolis hosted the Super Bowl in 2012 and is in the process of submitting a bid for the 2018 game. The National Rifle Association is meeting in Indianapolis this week.

The issue hit the front-burner Tuesday with CNN's report. The cities under consideration are Atlanta; Chicago; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Detroit; Indianapolis; Las Vegas; Miami; Nashville; New York; Orlando; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City.

Democrats' decision is not expected until late this year or early in 2015. Most cities expect the convention to cost between $55 million and $60 million.

Various factors go into deciding where to plant the convention, most notably whether the city has the facilities to stage the pageantry and whether there are enough hotels to house the delegates and media who descend on the region, as well as the ease with which visitors can navigate the city.

In addition, weather has thwarted recent conventions. The Republican National Committee delayed the start of its 2012 convention in Tampa, Fla., because of Hurricane Isaac. Storms forced the Democrats that year to scrap an outdoor rally in Charlotte, N.C. The history would weigh on officials considering storm-vulnerable Atlanta, Miami and Orlando.

Some of the 2016 cities have obvious appeal for Democrats.

President Barack Obama calls Chicago home and he will be leaving the White House in early 2017. A Chicago convention could be a nod to his eight years in power and a boost for an Obama presidential library the city is aggressively courting.

At the same time, potential contender Hillary Rodham Clinton grew up the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge, Ill. The former first lady, senator and secretary of state is considered an early front-runner for the Democrats' nomination if she should run for president in 2016.

Similarly, Clinton represented New York in the Senate from 2001 until she became the nation's top diplomat in 2009. Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, accepted his party's presidential nomination during a 1992 convention in New York's Madison Square Garden.

And Vice President Joe Biden, who is leaving the door open to a 2016 campaign, represented Delaware for six terms in the Senate and grew up in Scranton, Pa. A convention in Philadelphia would be a nod to Biden.

Republicans, meanwhile, are also considering Las Vegas and Cleveland. Denver, Dallas, Kansas City, Mo., and Cincinnati also remain on the Republican National Committee's list of potential hosts.

The RNC eliminated Columbus, Ohio, and Phoenix from consideration, and is expected to pick its venue this summer.

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