Birmingham is one of six cities considered to host D.N.C. - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Birmingham is one of six cities considered to host D.N.C.

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BIRMINGHAM - AL -     Birmingham is one of six cities vying for an opportunity to host the Democratic National Convention. Who are the competitors? New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Phoenix and Columbus, Ohio. A selecting committee will be visiting the cities in order to make a decision later this year. Among the cities considered, Birmingham is the smallest. However, its rich cultural history may be a draw, and could provide a unique backdrop for the convention.  Some argue the convention is likely to end up in a swing state, which Alabama clearly is not right now. 
    "Of the cities considering bids, I think Birmingham is the long-shot," said Steven Noles, a political consultant who worked on three presidential campaigns as a staffer.
    "More because of the facilities and that sort of thing than any political issues.  I think politically I think Birmingham would be a master-stroke for the Democratic party. It would signal a real effort to be politically competitive in the South."
    Noles said Birmingham probably has enough convention space however may have trouble providing adequate airline service.  But he feels the biggest challenge is the lack of enough first class hotels.  Noles estimates easily 20,000 people would needed to be housed in hotel rooms. He believes Birmingham falls short. The City has about 12,000 to 15,000 rooms.  
    Optimism is running high among city leaders though.
    Birmingham City Council President Jonathan Austin countered, "All of our hotels are first class, first of all.  It's not just the City of Birmingham that will make this thing pull off.  It's got to be the entire Central Alabama region." Austin also indicated the airport could carry the load.
    Noles said, "I would think that if you wanted to have a hotel open by the summer of 2016, you'd have to be digging dirt right now to do it.  I'm not sure Birmingham could expand its capacity in that time."   
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