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Columbus in final 3 to host Democratic National Convention

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The Columbus, Ohio skyline on Oct. 8, 2014. Credit: McKenzie Merriman / Lantern photographer

The Big Apple, The City of Brotherly Love and … Columbus.

Columbus is in the final three for the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

The DNC announced Monday that Columbus, Philadelphia and Brooklyn were all on the shortlist to host the 2016 convention. The cities that were cut from the running included Phoenix and Birmingham, Ala.

Brian Ross, CEO of Experience Columbus, said he was happy to hear the announcement. Experience Columbus helped put together and submit the bid for the Democratic convention, which includes listing hotels, arenas, transportation and other infrastructure specifics in Columbus.

“It’s very exciting and we’re very excited to see that Columbus is in the national spotlight as a city that can host a very important convention,” he said.

Cleveland is set to host the 2016 Republican National Convention. Columbus had submitted a bid for that convention as well, but didn’t make the final listing. Cleveland had originally applied to host the DNC as well, but can’t host both conventions, so the city removed itself from the list for the DNC.

Ross said the convention could bring in between $160 million to $200 million, but he was unsure about the costs until everything would be finalized.

He added that the other two cities had promising bids as well, but noted that Columbus’ arena and convention center are within walking distance of one another, and are also in walking distance of nightlife areas such as the Arena District and Short North, which could provide entertainment.

He estimated that the convention would bring about 40,000 people to the city.

James Alford, a fourth-year in psychology and international studies and the president of College Democrats at Ohio State, said the DNC would be a great opportunity for local businesses and the Democratic Party as a whole.

“Having both conventions in Ohio reaffirms how important this great state is in every election, and I honestly believe that letting the DNC convention leave Ohio would be a strategic mistake,” Alford said. “Ohio is a microcosm of the nation as a whole — and more specifically — so is Columbus. The DNC should be at the heart of Ohio, because it many ways, it’s the heart of the nation.”

Alford also said he had shown members of the DNC site selection committee around Ohio State in July, and he would be excited to return to Columbus if the convention was held in the capital city.

“I think it shows how important this state will be in 2016. I think that if the DNC chooses Columbus, Democrats will win Ohio, and the nation will turn blue once again,” he said. “I can’t wait to come back to Columbus for the convention and see the Democratic nominee for president of the United States, whoever she might be.”

Former-interim President Joseph Alutto said it would be exciting to host a political convention, no matter what the party.

“It’s the excitement of being a part of that, it’s the excitement of students being able to participate in that in a variety of ways,” Alutto said in a March 31 interview with The Lantern. “I mean, just to be around while that is happening, meeting people who are coming into town, understanding the extent to which that political process means to be involved in citizenship. The symbolism is wonderful, the visibility will be wonderful, not just for Columbus but for Ohio State.”

He also mentioned that hosting would be good for the city to bring in revenue.

“One of the advantages of bringing in a convention, besides all the political excitement and such, is you’re increasing tax revenues, and increasing tax revenues helps us all in the long run, including Ohio State,” Alutto said.

Neither the Ohio Democratic and Republican parties nor the College Republicans immediately responded to a request for comment Monday.

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