Site Selection
For both the Democrats and the Republicans, the process of selecting the convention site takes almost a year.  Only about two dozen American cities have the facilities, infrastructure and wherewithall to host one of the major party's quadrennial nominating conventions [see A Parody].  Because of the substantial financial commitment required and the demands on infrastructure, many of these cities opt not to pursue a convention bid.  Yet, holding a national convention does provide a significant economic boost to a city, and interested cities make substantial efforts to woo the parties. Hosting a convention provides an economic boost, but competing for and hosting a convention likewise imposes major obligations.1  To mount a successful bid, political, civic and business leaders must be firmly united behind the effort.

Republicans considered four cities--Cleveland, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York City, and Tampa-St. Petersburg.  Their nine-person Site Selection Committee, consisting of two RNC members elected from each of four regions and co-chaired by RNC Co-Chair Jo Ann Davidson, voted in late September 2006 to recommend Minneapolis-St. Paul to host the 2008 Republican National Convention.

Democrats considered three cities--Denver, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and New York City (see photos)--until the Republicans' choice of Minneapolis-St. Paul removed that possibility leaving only Denver and New York City.  A 10-person Technical Advisory Committee weighed the merits of the cities' proposals (this is a contrast to the process in recent cycles where the site advisory committee comprised 40 or more people).  The DNC had expected to announce the host city in late 2006, but deliberations dragged on as organized labor raised concerns about Denver and New York leaders expressed reservations about doing the necessary fundraising.  Finally on January 11, 2007 the DNC announced its choice of Denver.

DEMOCRATS       Recommended: 2008 Democratic Convention Watch blog
New York City

[Dropped from consideration after RNC selected]
Nov. 4, 2005 DNC Chairman Howard Dean announces that the Democrats will hold their 2008 national convention from Monday, August 25 through Thursday, August 28, 2008.  According to the press release, "The late August convention date will allow the Democrats to host their convention after the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing."
Nov. 2005 DNC sends out letters of invitation to 35 cities.
...over the next three months eleven cities express intial interest.
Feb. 27, 2006 DNC mails out Request for Proposals (RFPs) to the 11 interested cities: Anaheim, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York City, Orlando, Phoenix and San Antonio.
May 19, 2006 Deadline for cities to respond. Denver, Minneapolis-St. Paul and New York City submit proposals.  New Orleans granted extension.
June 14-16, 2006 Technical Advisory Committee visits New York City.
June 21-23, 2006 Technical Advisory Committee visits Denver.
June 26-28, 2006 Technical Advisory Committee visits Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Late June 2006 New Orleans, which had been granted an extension, decides not to submit a proposal
Jan. 11, 2007 DNC announces selection of Denver as the host city for the 2008 Democratic National Convention.  [press release]


New York City
Jan. 23, 2006 RNC announces members of its Site Selection Committee responsible for making recommendations to the full RNC for the location of the 2008 Republican National Convention.
Feb. 14, 2006 RNC presents requests for proposals to 31 cities to determine interest in hosting the party's 2008 national convention. [press release
April 6, 2006 RNC announces 2008 Republican National Convention to be held from Monday, September 1st through Thursday, September 4th. 
April 11, 2006 RNC holds "interested cities day" at a hotel in Washington, DC.  Representatives from 11 cities meet with the Site Selection Committee and address any questions or concerns. 
May 22, 2006 The deadline for official convention bids.  Four cities submit proposals: Cleveland, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York City and Tampa-St. Petersburg
June 14, 2006 RNC announces that the Site Selection Committee will visit the four finalist cities.
Aug. 2006 Site visits.  (Tampa-St. Petersburg is August 20-22, 2006).
Sept. 27, 2006 RNC announces that the "Site Selection Committee has voted to recommend Minneapolis-St. Paul to host the 2008 Republican National Convention, pending the successful negotiation of the Site City Agreement." [press release
Jan. 2007 Full RNC approves final selection of the host city at the party's annual Winter Meeting.

1.  A March 2004 analysis by the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University concluded that "the overall effect on the Boston metropolitan area economy is an increase of $121.6 million in direct, indirect and induced value added."  However, an April 13, 2004 update, taking into account the loss of Sail Boston 2004 and the U.S.A. Gymnastics qualifying event and the closure of parts of I-93 and North Station, concluded that "Boston would lose $12.8 million in economic activity as a result of the convention."  See BHI FaxSheet.  "The Democrats are coming: What it means to the Boston economy," March 30, 2004, Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University; and Paul Bachman and John Barrett. "Economic Effects on the Boston Area of the 2004 Democratic National Convention," April 13, 2004, Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University.
2. The 2008 Democratic Convention Watch blog, launched on November 7, 2005, presented dedicated coverage of the Democrats' site selection process and was the best source of such information on the Internet.  Matt, the blog's author, provided background and observations in a Jan. 2007 e-mail: 
I started the blog, my first, just after Dean announced the dates of the convention, as I saw a lot of bad information being posted on the date selection, and I wanted to correct the record.  I also took to heart a comment on MyDD which suggested that if you start a blog, make sure it's focused, and this one is pretty focused.

While I've never been involved with politics on a full-time basis (I'm an engineer), I have volunteered/been on staff for 5 Democratic conventions, from 1976 to 1992, always involved with behind-the-scenes logistics, which has given me a good background in convention logistics.  Through the blog, as well as a number of convention articles on Wikipedia which I've contributed to, I hope I've provided useful information to people who are looking for it.

The biggest controversy of the year was whether the Democrats should go to New Orleans, which generated strong reactions on both sides.  But there were two underlying stories that also came out.  First, that the late convention date was due to a major change in the way presidential campaigns are being financed, with major candidates now foregoing matching funds in the primaries (and probably in the general in 2008).  The other is that the attraction of conventions to cities is decreasing, and I think the national parties are either going to have to start putting up more money themselves, or find a way for the conventions to cost less.  This will be very interesting to watch in the next cycle.

 See also Site Selection 2000; 2004 Dems | 2004 Reps
Copyright © 2006, 2007  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action