being a celebration of our party, the Democratic convention is an
for the host city to showcase its attractions and to draw an
media audience. It offers the possibility of thousands of new
more tourism dollars and enhanced civic pride."
chair Terry McAuliffe
four cities to host the 2004 Democratic National Convention:
York City. On November 13, 2002 they announced that
will hold their convention in Boston, marking the first time a major
party has held its convention in the city. On December 17
from the city and the Democratic National Committee signed the contract
in a ceremony
process began in October 2001, when the Democratic National Committee
out letters to the 34 largest cities inviting them to consider hosting
the party's 2004 convention. The introductory letter outlined
General Requirements. Cities responded to the introductory
and on February 28, 2002, the Democratic National Committee invited 10
cities -- Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit,
Miami, New York City and Pittsburgh -- to submit proposals, with a
of April 12, 2002 at 5:00 p.m.. The Request for Proposal contained ten
sections covering everything from general city obligations--such as
indemnification, and insurance, labor relations, and ADA compliance--to
requirements for the convention complex, the host committee, security,
transportation, and so forth. Chicago
(Feb. 28), Pittsburgh
(April 10), Atlanta,
(April 12) and Dallas
withdrew from consideration by the April 12 deadline. Five cities
submitted proposals: Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, Miami, and New York
(Baltimore later withdrew its proposal by mutual agreement with the
In June and July
40-person Site Advisory Committee visited the four remaining
Site visits took place in June and July: Boston (June
24-26), Miami (July
15-17), Detroit (July
23-25), and New York City (July 29-31). In addition, Boston
a follow up visit on August 2 and Detroit received a follow up visit on
charge of the
Site Advisory Committee is to make sure the city can meet the
requirements of holding a convention: providing the 17,000 hotel rooms,
the 125 air-conditioned buses, the willingness to sign over the
venue for three months for preparation and later restoration (most of
proposals would give the DNCC unlimited access, meaning "exclusive
and direction" from June 1-Aug. 6, 2004), and so forth. The
transportation and security requirements are enormous. Then there
is the question of budget. In general, total funding in these
falls in the $41-51 million range. This includes in kind and cash
expenditures; the biggest items are the convention venue and
A major concern for Democrats in examining the projected budgets is the
proportion of transferable versus nontransferable funds. (A
proportion of transferable funds gives the DNCC greater flexibility,
it to make reallocations between different sections of the budget
it so choose.).
and the budget numbers there are more intangible factors that enter
the calculus of site selection. The host city should reflect the
party's message, and if it is a key state in terms of electoral votes
much the better. Joe Andrew, co-chair of the Site Advisory
said a city's "enthusiasm and energy level" will also enter into the
The DNC is looking for "a city that really wants us," he said.
Democratic Site Selection Timeline
Site Advisory Committee
(40 people total)
Outgoing DNC chair Joe Andrew named as co-chair of the Site Advisory
DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe names Alice A. Huffman, a longtime
activist, as co-chair of the Site Advisory Committee.
In a letter to RNC Chairman James Gilmore, McAuliffe states Democrats
hold their convention the week of July 18, 2004. [McAuliffe
"The first step in planning for the 2004 Conventions is choosing a
As you are aware, tradition dictates that the party in the White House
holds their Convention after the challenging party. This letter
serve as official notice that the DNC will hold its Nominating
the week of July 18, 2004."]
DNC sends out letters to the 34 largest cities inviting them to
hosting the Democrats' 2004 convention. [Atlanta, Boston,
Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis,
City (MO), Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis,
Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix,
Portland (OR), San Antonio, San Diego, St. Louis, St. Paul, San
Sacramento, Seattle, Salt Lake City and Washington, DC]. The
letter outlines Preliminary General Requirements. Over the next
months, cities respond to the introductory letter.
At the DNC winter meeting in Washington, DC, McAuliffe announces the
38 members of the Site Advisory Committee.
DNC announces that 10 cities will receive RFPs to host the 2004
Convention: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit,
Miami, New York City and Pittsburgh.
rules out a bid; in a statement Mayor Richard M. Daley says, "[W]e just
had our turn. Let's give some other cities the opportunity."
rules out a bid; in a letter Mayor Tom Murphy cites the cost of
the city's new convention center to meet the needs of the
Murphy states that the city is "at a critical juncture in securing the
remaining funding for the building."
rules out bids for either convention; in letters Mayor Lee P. Brown
ongoing redevelopment and major events to be held in the next couple of
years, as well as the city's bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympic
He states that "it is important for our city's leaders to focus on
all that we have undertaken." Atlanta
rules out bids for either convention; Mayor Shirley Franklin states
hosting a convention "would displace several large groups that have
made their plans. It would not be fair to ask them to find
April 12, 2002
at 5:00 p.m.
Deadline for submitting bids. Five cities submit proposals: Baltimore,
and New York City. [New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg
presented the City's bid to McAuliffe in a ceremony in the main lobby
Grand Central Station on the afternoon of April 11. Miami, Boston
and Detroit hand delivered their bids to DNC headquarters in photo ops
on April 12. Baltimore FedEx'ed its proposal in].
Site Advisory Committee holds first
meeting, studies proposals and decides it will visit Boston,
Miami and New York City. By mutual agreement Baltimore's proposal
had earlier been withdrawn.
McAuliffe sends mayors of the four cities a letter notifying them that,
"The Democratic National Committee is now actively considering the
of July 19, July 26, August 2, August 30 and September 6, 2004 for the
start of our convention." He points to the late start of the
Convention and the record six week gap between the two
McAuliffe writes, "As Chairman, my primary concern is the impact this
has on our Democratic presidential and vice-presidential
Therefore it is imperative that we re-examine all our options."
Site Advisory Committee visits Boston.
Site Advisory Committee visits Miami.
Site Advisory Committee visits Detroit.
Site Advisory Committee visits New York City.
Follow up visit to Boston.
Follow up visit to Detroit.
Site Advisory Committee holds second meeting, recommends Boston to
who accepts the recommendation and announces Boston as the host city.
Officials from Boston and the DNC sign the 97-page contract at
Andrew (announced early 2001), former DNC chairman; he chaired the
2000 site advisory committee which operated in 1998. Currently
in the Corporate/Mergers & Acquisitions Department and Chairman of
the Global Public Affairs Group at Cadwalader, Wickersham &
A. Huffman (announced Feb. 28, 2001), a longtime Democratic
of the DNC since 1992; at the time of the announcement she was
of A. C. Public Affairs; soon afterwards she became president of
the Calif. NAACP.
Fred Baron (TX)
Alma Brown (DC)
Brown, Jr. (CA)
Amy Burks (AL)
Craighead Mullen (DC)
Liz Keadle (CA)
Bob Poe (FL)
Joe Stroud (IL)
Hugh Walsh (DC)
While the DNC's
site advisory commmittee might seem unwieldy, especially when compared
to the Republicans' nine-person site selection committee, it is smaller
than the 49-person committee that considered the 2000 sites. Joe
Andrew said the size reflects the party's efforts to be very inclusive
and to reach out to people from different geographic, racial, and
backgrounds. As an economy measure, members of the advisory
divided up the visits so that each person visited two of the four
1. A number of
bid for the 2000 Democratic convention were not interested this time
(Denver, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Charlotte, and Seattle).
Atlanta hosted the 1988 Democratic convention, but the city has seen
growth since. According to the 2000 Census, the Atlanta
area (MSA) had a population of 4.1 million, 11th biggest in the
The metropolitan area's population increased by 38.9 percent in the
from 1990 to 2000 (by comparison the resident population nationwide
by 11.6 percent in the same period). Mayor Shirley Franklin (D)
elected in November 2001. Georgia has 15 electoral votes; Gore
the state by 55 to 43 percent, but this is a Southern state a
candidate could carry.
of Atlanta | Atlanta
Convention & Visitors Bureau
to Washington, DC, Baltimore bills itself as "The Greatest City in
Mayor Martin O'Malley (D) was elected in November 1999. According
to the 2000 Census, the primary Baltimore area has a population of 2.6
million, while the broader consolidated Washington, DC-Baltimore area
7.6 million people. Maryland has 10 electoral votes; Gore won the
state by 56 to 40 percent.
of Baltimore | Baltimore
Area Convention and Visitors Association
bills itself as "the City that Works: Diverse, Vibrant and
Dallas hosted the 1984 Republican convention. According to the
Census, the Dallas-Fort Worth consolidated metropolitan area has a
of 5.2 million (ninth biggest metropolitan area), and the primary
area is home to 3.5 million people. The mayor is Laura Miller;
presides over and votes as a member of the City Council.
of Dallas | Dallas
Convention & Visitors Bureau
hosted the 1992 Republican convention and is bidding to host the 2012
Olympic Games. According to the 2000 Census, the
consolidated metropolitan area has a population of 4.7 million (tenth
metropolitan area), and the primary Houston area is home to 4.2 million
people. Mayor Lee P. Brown (D) was elected to a second term in a
December 2001 runoff.
of Houston | Greater
Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
Craig Kwiecinski, a spokesman for Mayor Tom Murphy (a Democrat first
in November 1993), said that while most people don't immediately think
of Pittsburgh as a convention site, a closer look will show the city
a brand new convention center; is steeped in Democratic tradition; has
transformed itself from an industrial-based economy to a thriving
success; and has a strong labor background; further Pennsylvania is
going to be a swing state in 2004. According to the 2000 Census,
the Pittsburgh metropolitan area has a population of 2.4 million, 18th
biggest in the country; the population actually declined slightly in
past two decades. Gore won Pennsylvania with 50.6 to 46.4
following the 2000 reapportionment, the state has 21 electoral votes.
of Pittsburgh | Greater
Pittsburgh Convention & Visitors Bureau
- - -
Sites of Recent
2003 Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action.