UPDATE: Indy 'unlikely' to seek 2016 party conventions

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

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.


  • Jackie your right
    However it would be in the best interest of the city to pursue the 2020 GOP or DEM convention. We wont have to worry about a Super Bowl or other events getting in the way and if Ballard wins a 3rd term next year which would be very good for our city to land the GOP convention he could be a keynote speaker for the 2020 one as he retires which would shine the spotlight on our city like never before.
  • Aim high
    Just one more step to the bringing the eventual goal (the Olympics) to fruition.
    • Chicago is Already Crowned
      Anyone who believes that Chicago won't get the Democratic Convention is kidding themselves. Obama and Hillary are from Chicago. Mayor Emmanuel is obviously in Hillary's camp and Hillary will have a say in where it is held. Why would you spend time and effort getting commitments for private $$ to fund this event when it's not going to even happen here? Nor will the GOP convention. It's best to hit private donors when you can guarantee a victory. If you can't guarantee a victory, then don't waste your time. Save it for another event.
    • TOO BUSY?
      Bob, I'm in agreement with you. Why did we build all these facilities, only to turn around and say we're too busy to hold events? The Convention Center schedule sure doesn't indicate we have too many things going on. Also, don't forget the Sports Corp. said they had to many things going on to bid on the NCAA Football Championship.
    • Superbowl
      The City would have to raise $50 to $60 million dollars for the DNC and have to raise another $100 million or more for the Superbowl. Raising that much in 2 years wouldn't happen.
    • @Joe
      We can't stage a Super Bowl and National Convention 2 years apart from each other?
    • Superbowl
      I would prefer a Superbowl over any political convention and you can't do both.
    • Laugh
      If it were the republican convention, I bet we would find it convenient. apparently this "world class city" is a political backwater
    • Go to Benghazi
      Democrat leadership has already anointed Killary as its nominee. Send Democrat apparatchiks to Benghazi for the celebration.
    • Indianoplace
      I think if we want to be a world class city we have to dance every dance or at least try. In the last 3 months we have hosted several major events last week we were hosting the FDIC a major convention and now we are hosting the NRA convention. Why did we increase the size of the convention center and subsidize the building of the Marriot? We were told when we built Lucas Oil that the reason was so we could host two big conventions at the same time--now we are saying we can't host a major convention because we have to much other stuff going on? I'm not sure it is politically motivated but I do think it sends a bad message and reaffirms the stereotype that we are a small market and can't handle big things. I think Indianapolis would have no problem hosting this event if we put our backs into it.
      • Great job Indy Democratic Party Chariman for being a hypocrite.
        Obviously the chairman cant read: 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 never said we don't have enough hotel rooms. However if we have another event in town at the time of the 2016 national convention then where do you think these additional hotel rooms are going to pop up for the Democrats? Wait until things calm down and shoot for 2020. Man people cant stop whining and crying when things don't go their way.

      Post a comment to this story

      We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
      You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
      Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
      No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
      We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

      Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

      Sponsored by

      facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

      Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
      Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
      Subscribe to IBJ