Columbus hasn’t given up its hopes on hosting a national political convention.
The city submitted a bid for the 2016 Democratic National Convention Friday, only a few months after being denied from hosting the 2016 Republican National Convention. Columbus even has a website to woo the DNC, complete with photos and videos touting the bid’s strong points.
Beth Ervin, director of communications for Experience Columbus, said submitting the RNC bid first helped with planning as the city prepared a bid for the DNC.
“The people who put the bid together would say that they learned a lot from the process the first time and they were able to refine it this time,” she said.
The DNC bid is about 300 pages, or nearly twice as large as the RNC bid. Tyneisha Harden, a spokeswoman with Mayor Michael Coleman’s office, agreed that having experience with another bid was useful.
“Putting our bid together for the DNC was a great opportunity to start over and put some different spins together that maybe we didn’t do with the RNC,” she said.
Part of the reason Columbus is vying for a convention is the economic impact it would bring. Ervin estimated the DNC would bring an estimated $102 million in direct spending into Columbus, and the total economic impact is estimated at nearly $160 million.
But Ervin said it was about more than just the economic impact.
“We struggle with a lack of image and we often hear that when people come to visit that (Columbus is) just a best kept secret. We’re trying not to keep it a secret anymore that we’re a large city,” she said.
Columbus’ bid wants to reveal the city’s secrets by focusing on a few things. The bid centers on the amount and quality of restaurants in the city, the large facilities including Nationwide Arena and the Greater Columbus Convention Center, and the ease of transportation — both in getting to the city and getting around once visitors arrive.
The convention could bring as many as 45,000 people, including international media representatives, according to a city press release. Coleman said the city wants that attention.
“Hosting a national political convention will command the eyes of the world on Columbus,” he said in a released statement. We’ve done significant work to build a great American city and we are confident in our ability to host a phenomenal event.”
Ervin and Harden agreed that while the most important step is meeting the bid’s requirements — which include things like venue space and transportation needs — it should help that Columbus is a strong-leaning Democratic city.
“I think what sells Columbus for is we’re very much so a very up and coming city,” Harden said. “Politically, we know you can’t win the White House without winning Ohio and central ohio is key … Hopefully it does help that Columbus is a very progressive city.
Ervin said there was also a large local support for the bid that should be appealing to the Democrats.
“I think that makes it an extremely strong bid. They’re looking for a diverse cross community,” she said.
Ervin said there was no exact timeline, but that the city should expect to hear the next step in the process late this month.