Cover Story: DNC - Buzz about Charlotte in 140 characters

By Jeff Atkinson - bio l email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - With Charlotte seeking to host the Democratic National Convention in two years the push to bring the party here took an interesting turn on Thursday.

DNC members are in St. Louis for their summer meetings right now, but today they got an earful about the Queen City.

Could the internet could make a difference in our chances?

Supporters hope it does especially when you see the stir they created almost spontaneously on the internet about Charlotte.

Local people are trying to put Charlotte on DNC members minds even while they're in St. Louis - a city also in the running to host the convention in two years.

Called it the Charlotte coup - organized by these two young journalists at the local website

Ninety-thousand readers, they say it's the city's largest online-only news source.

Knowing that Democratic National Committee members would be meeting in St. Louis and knowing that some of them would be following the DNC gathering on Twitter why not crash the party, Desiree Kane thought.

"I put out the scoop yesterday."

They encouraged Twitter followers here to tweet positives things about Charlotte to where the DNC members would be able to see it.  500 did.  An incredible response for cyberspace.

"Charlotte has the benefit of having a Twitter community that is really.. we've got some solidarity going and I knew that we could use this in a positive way to uplift Charlotte," said Kane.

DNC delegates (the ones who gather for the conventions every four years) don't get to decide where they want to meet.  That falls to a small group led by big whigs like Tim Kaine, head of the Democratic National Committee and members in the White House.

But delegates can make a lot of noise.

Pat Cotham, a DNC member from Charlotte who's in St. Louis today told us that strangers seen her name tag and where she's from and immediately they begin asking.  "I've had so many people from all over the country coming up to me and saying, "Is this gonna happen? Is it gonna happen in Charlotte? I keep saying you betcha it is," said Cotham.

Does Charlotte want the convention more?  Seems that way to some NC delegates who are in St. Louis now.  They say they haven't seen much in the way of convention buzz.

"The city of Charlotte can get its mojo back by getting this convention."  Tom Williams, a spokesman for Duke Energy and an aide to Duke CEO Jim Rogers who co-chairs Charlotte's bid committee says Charlotte's used to the underdog role.

Remember critics who said we'd never get an NBA franchise?  Think of what it could do for our image, say supporters.

"This is about Charlotte. This is not about the Party. We're going to be the host city for a great convention that will be seen internationally for a week-long period. There's really no downside to that," said Williams.

In addition to Charlotte and St. Louis, Cleveland and Minneapolis are the other two finalists.

The DNC leadership is supposed to make a decision after this November's election.

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