Councilman James F. Kenney said Thursday that he didn’t believe Mayor Nutter was interested in bringing the 2016 Democratic National Convention to Philadelphia, so instead he introduced a resolution conveying Council’s desire to host the event.
Cities that want to be considered as potential hosts must express interest by Saturday.
Kenney said his resolution appeared to be “the only way to keep us in the game.”
“I think it belongs here and we should be pursuing this with vigor,” Kenney said. “We’re a big city. We should be able to pull this off.”
But Mayor Nutter did send a letter Thursday morning to U.S. Rep Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, expressing the city’s interest.
“There is no doubt that Philadelphia’s rich history, cultural vitality, diverse communities, and growing population would provide an ideal backdrop for the” convention, the letter said.
Kenney, handed a copy of the letter on the floor of Council, joked that it was “still warm,” and said he still doubted that the mayor would pursue the convention whole-heartedly.
Mark McDonald, the mayor’s spokesman, called Kenney’s resolution a “tempest in a teapot.”
“We did what we intended to do,” he said. “This is clearly playing politics with politics.”
The city last hosted a party convention in 2000, when the Republicans gathered here and nominated George W. Bush. The Democrats were last here in 1948.
U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, the city’s Democratic Party boss, has been pushing to bring the event here in 2016. He hosted a gathering of city politicos at the Union League in August to discuss the effort.
At the time, Nutter said he would “love for the city to be the host in 2016,” but he had questions about how much it would cost and how the money would be raised. Federal filings after the 2000 Republican National Convention showed regional taxpayers forked over nearly $39 million to cover expenses.
Brady said in August that he didn’t think tax dollars would be necessary this time, partly because of federal security grants. He also said a non-profit would have to be formed to raise about $30 million to $40 million, while the convention could pump as much as $300 million into the local economy.
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