Cover Story: DNC 2012 - Charlotte's chances

By Jeff Atkinson - bio l email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Waiting on the DNC.  Charlotte is a finalist for the 2012 Democratic National Convention.  The DNC promised to make its choice by year's end.  And it is down to the wire.  Any day now.

The Queen City is one of four cities in the running to land the convention in two years.  There's also Cleveland, St. Louis and Minneapolis.  The committee has visited all four.

They've been wined and dined.  They've weighed the pros and the cons.  And still, so far, no decision.

Charlotte wants this convention.  Not because it's Democrat, it could be Republican.  It's not red, it's not blue.  It's all about green.

If it's going to come in 2010 we're running out of time.

When they visited this summer the DNC indicated they'd have a decision by the end of the year.

It's the end of the year.  What do you say about that Mr. Mayor?  We asked Anthony Foxx today.  "I harbor no expectations," he said.  "I have only great hopes that they will in their own wisdom and judgment find that Charlotte's the right place for the convention."

The New York Times this week weighed in with profiles on each of the four cities.

Of Charlotte, it called "A Southern Surprise."  The paper said of all the states President Obama won in 2008 North Carolina was among the biggest surprises - breaking a GOP hold on the south.

Having the convention here the paper said would acknowledge the state's importance and could inspire students and blacks who voted heavily for Obama in 2008 to go to the polls again.

One who's bullish on Charlotte's chances is David Parker of Iredell county, a DNC superdelegate and a veteran of seven Democratic National Conventions.

We showed him the Times "take" on the race.

"Missouri has been a disappointment to Democrats in recent years. Well, that's certainly not an overstatement."

Parker says scuttlebutt within the party says it's down to St. Louis and Charlotte.

But between the two states - North Carolina and Missouri - Obama has a better chance of carrying North Carolina.  Giving Charlotte a leg up.

"North Carolina's definitely within striking distance. And he's going to have to carry North Carolina in order to be able to get back into the White House," Parker said.

One thing that could keep us out - unions.  Airline workers are unionized, but there aren't many others in the state compared to other states.

Labor wields a lot of power in the party and North Carolina is the least unionized state in the country.

Unions came up when the party considered non-union Denver two years ago and the party may not want to offend a crucial base again.

Says Chuck Plunkett with The Denver Post who covered the DNC when it was in Colorado's capital city in 2008, "That's what the party's going to have to decide if it really wants to make a push to win you guys over so to speak. If that can be the message point that it rallies around I suppose maybe it could talk to its loyal folks and say, "Look this is what we have to do. It worked in Denver."

If it doesn't happen by year's end the decision most likely will come either January or early February.  DNC superdelegates meet in Washington, DC the end of February and host city will be confirmed then.

Who's going to ultimately decide?  The White House.  It's the president's party.

Obama and his closest aides will certainly consider input from DNC Chairman Tim Kain (former governor of next-door Virginia) but it's going to come down to the city the President wants.

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