Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

DNC

Houston on the short list for the 2020 DNC

One in three shot at it.

Democratic Party officials have culled the list of potential host cities for the 2020 Democratic National Convention from eight to four, and Houston is still in the mix, Mayor Sylvester Turner said Wednesday.

The mayor kicked off Wednesday’s regular city council meeting with the announcement, noting that Milwaukee, Denver and the Miami area are the other remaining finalists. By the end of the meeting, however, he said he was told Denver had withdrawn its bid, leaving Houston as one of three finalists.

“Our chances have gotten exponentially better,” Turner said. “I’m excited about the proposal we submitted.”

[…]

Turner said he also wants to bid on hosting the 2024 Republic National Convention when the time comes.

“It’s all about marketing and selling the city of Houston,” the mayor said.

See here, here, and here for the background. All three sites have their pros and cons, so it’s probably just a matter of how each bid gets sold to the city. I’m hopeful but not overly optimistic. As for the 2024 RNC, all I can say is that it better be a post-Trump Republican Party by then, or there’s no amount of marketing value that could make it worth the effort. The Trib has more.

Houston submits its DNC 2020 bid

From the inbox:

Houston, recognized for its record of successfully hosting mega-events, today submitted an official bid to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

The bid document of about 600 pages shows how Houston’s convention infrastructure and its people put the city in a superior position to host the presidential nominating convention.

The downtown Toyota Center indoor arena and the close-by, expanded George R. Brown Convention Center in the Avenida Houston convention campus would provide the main gathering spaces for the July 13-16, 2020 convention. A Metro light rail system crisscrosses downtown nearby. Delegates and other participants traveling by air would arrive at Houston’s two international airports. Both have a 4-star rating from Skytrax, making Houston the only U.S. city with two.

About 24,000 hotel rooms would be available within 14 miles of the convention sites, placing the city well ahead of other cities on hospitality logistics. A record-high 20 million visitors traveled to Houston in 2016.

Houston’s specialty in hosting major events shone through with the 2017 Super Bowl, the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament finals and the continuing annual Offshore Technology Conference, Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, Comicpalooza and others.

The city hosted the Republican National Convention in 1992 and the Democratic National Convention in 1928. Houston has since become the fourth most populous U.S. city and its most diverse, attracting new residents from across the nation and the globe. The city is praised as a pluralistic society that lives as one. (“Nothing less than the story of the American city of the future,” – Los Angeles Times, 5/9/2017)

Houston is strong and resilient. The city showed exceptional mettle, bravery and neighborliness in the aftermath of the floods caused by Harvey. “Houston has bounced back from Harvey faster than anyone predicted, inspiring the Twitter hashtag #HoustonStrong,” The New York Times said on 11/23/2017.

“I am confident that we are the right city and this is the right time to bring the convention to Houston,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said in letter to DNC Chairman Tom Perez that introduces the bid package.

“Houston is a proven event town and has excelled in hosting high profile national events,” the mayor said in the letter. “Whether celebratory, such as the Super Bowl or somber, such as the recent memorial events for former First Lady Barbara Bush, we meet the producer’s goals while exceeding expectations with seamless execution and constant attention to public safety.”

See here and here for the background, and here for the Chron story. Video from the Council meeting where the bid effort was discussed and approved is here. Houston has definitely shown it can handle big events, and I’ll be delighted if we win, but we’re one of many, so keep expectations realistic. We should know in a few months.

Council passes resolution to support 2020 DNC

Cool.

Houston bolstered its bid for the 2020 Democratic National Convention on Wednesday as City Council affirmed the city’s safety and logistics services will be marshalled sufficiently to support the gathering if Houston is chosen as the host city.

Houston has joined seven other cities in taking initial steps to host the event. A memo to council that accompanied the resolution language this week says local officials will make a presentation to the DNC this month, hoping to make a “short list” of cities in contention for the convention. DNC officials have confirmed Houston was one of eight potential host cities to receive formal requests for proposals.

“This city has changed quite a bit since 1992,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner, referencing the last national political convention held in Houston, the one heralding former President George H.W. Bush’s reelection bid that year. “This is about showcasing our city. It’s about inviting people from all over the globe to our city. It’s intended to be a bipartisan effort being presented saying, ‘This is Houston.’”

[…]

City officials said if Houston is chosen to host the event, a committee will be formed to raise private dollars to help pay for it, revenues that will be used in part to reimburse the city for its share of the costs, as was done after last year’s Super Bowl; the Houston Rockets, the memo adds, have agreed to provide the Toyota Center as the official Convention site.

See here for the background. I remember that 1992 Republican convention. I spent two weeks doing “dawn patrol” clinic defense at the Planned Parenthood, then on Fannin before they reconfigured to move their entrance off the street. Those were interesting times, to say the least. Anyway, Houston is one of several cities to make a bid, unlike the other guys. I’m rooting for Houston to win here, but I’ll understand if another city does.

Houston in the running for 2020 DNC

Seems like there’s a few more places bidding for this one.

Eight cities are in consideration to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention as the party prepares for a presidential contest that is expected to include an unusually large number of candidates.

The Democratic National Committee sent requests for proposals to eight cities last month that expressed interest in hosting the event.

The cities are: Atlanta; Denver; Houston; New York; San Francisco; Milwaukee; Miami Beach; and Birmingham.

The DNC previously sent letters to a longer list of cities to gauge their interest. Birmingham and New York City were considered in 2016, but passed over.

Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee, is eyeing several cities for its own 2020 convention, including Las Vegas and Charlotte, North Carolina, according to the Charlotte Observer.

Guess it’s easier to get a city to take your call about a convention if you’re not shackled to the hateful garbage fire known as Donald Trump. Houston last hosted a national convention in 1992 when the Republicans were in town. That was a different time, and we’re a different city now. I’ve no idea how Houston’s bid will stack up against those other cities, and I honestly don’t really care if we get it or not. But I’m glad we’re bidding, and being taken seriously. In a different year and with a different President, I’d be fine with the city bidding on the RNC, too. The Chron has more.

More DNC presence in Texas

Glad to see it, even if I’m not really sure what it means.

Hillary Clinton

The Democratic National Committee is expanding its presence in Texas as polls continue to show a closer-than-usual presidential race in the solidly red state.

Texas is set to become the fourth state participating in the DNC’s Victory Leaders Council program, which establishes groups of prominent state Democrats to work directly with the party operation in Washington. The program is already underway in Arizona, Georgia and Utah — three other traditionally Republican states where Democrats are seeing new opportunity this election cycle.

The Texas Victory Leaders Council features a who’s who of state Democrats, including well-known activists, donors, elected officials and party leaders. The council will be focused on helping elect both Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and down-ballot candidates while trying to lay the groundwork for Democratic inroads in the state beyond 2016.

“Democrats are competing across the country and building for the future,” DNC chief of staff Brandon Davis said in a statement. “In states from Georgia to Texas, demographics and politics are changing quickly — and Democrats are making the investments to make gains now so that we can take majorities later.”

In a separate statement, interim DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile said the Victory Leaders Councils are “one more way that Democrats are investing in all 50 states.”

[…]

The DNC says its Victory Leaders Councils are volunteer-driven but will “work closely” with the leadership of the Clinton campaign in each state. Jackie Uresti is currently serving as Clinton’s Texas state director.

There’s a loooooooong list of names at the end of the story – I think if you’re a recent Democratic elected official, you’re either on the list or ought to be wondering why not. On the one hand, it’s always a pleasant surprise to see the national party invest any kind of resources in the state and to embrace the idea that there are opportunities here. It’s awesome to be classified, even in this fuzzy and opportunistic way, as a state on the verge of competitiveness, and not just another depressingly red redoubt. If this turns out to be a longer-term investment (which as we know the Clinton campaign offices are not), with an eye on 2018 and beyond, so much the better and about damn time.

On the other hand, the described purpose of this is so vague, I have no idea what this Council or its Leaders are intended to do, other than get their names on a long list. I don’t expect them to disclose their goals and metrics, but it sure would be nice to have even a general idea of what those “opportunities” are. I can’t measure the success or failure of something if I don’t know what the intentions of it are. I’ve talked at length about what I think the goals for this election ought to be, but I’m not on that list, so I can’t say if they share any of those goals. I’m delighted this exists, and I hope after the election they find lots of things to brag about, but we’re going to have to take it on faith until then.

Waiting for an investment

Some day, the national Democratic Party will make an investment in Texas rather than just use us as a glorified ATM. Just don’t ask me when that day will be.

Texans have become accustomed to occupying the nosebleed seats at the Democratic National Convention, extras in a production that favors states that are solidly blue or liable to swing that way. But this year, even the most cynical Texas Democrats say they sense a tangible shift — a feeling that that they’re being positioned to be closer to the front row.

There was the selection of San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, an ambitious young Latino with deep Texas roots, to give the convention’s Tuesday night keynote speech.

There’s the palpable energy behind several up-and-coming Texas Democrats running in key congressional races, a couple of them competitive enough to draw out-of-state dollars.

And there’s the sense, especially among longtime Democratic operatives, that there’s a new sheriff in town — a Texas Democratic Party chairman who has no qualms about asking the national party organization to make a serious investment in Texas, or else stop monopolizing the state’s biggest Democratic donors.

“I don’t want to overstate this,” Austin-based Democratic consultant Harold Cook said. “But they are suddenly showing some fight, some signs of life, which is a lot better than a quiet, sleepy little party.”

[…]

“The Texas Democratic Party has always strained to not complain about the extent to which the national party takes more than it returns,” said Jim Henson, a University of Texas political science professor and Texas Tribune pollster.

No longer. Party insiders say they’ve reached a breaking point: They can’t sit by, losing “winnable” local races for lack of funding while they watch Texas donors fill national coffers. Former Cameron County Judge Gilberto Hinojosa, who took the helm at the TDP this summer, said his goal at the national convention is to “impress upon the leadership that Texas could be blue if we just got a little lovin’ from the national party.”

“Texas is the only state in the union that is majority-minority but doesn’t have a Democratic statewide elected official,” he said. “That’s something that needs to be talked about.”

I consider this to be a sort of companion piece to that story about Paul Sadler, because they both boil down to the same thing. No one thinks Texas is ready to be competitive for Democrats at the statewide level, so nobody is willing to fund statewide candidates. Bill White in 2010 was the first adequately funded statewide Democrat since 2002, and he picked the wrong year to run. But the lack of funding makes being competitive at a statewide level that much less likely and more difficult. I have no idea how Paul Sadler plus ten or fifteen million dollars would be polling against Ted Cruz right now, but I’ll bet it would be closer than people think. I often think Texas will go blue in a downballot race or two before anyone believes it could. This was the case in Harris County in 2006, when Jim Sharp carried the county in his race for the 1st Court of Appeals, and Mary Kay Green – who had a majority of the vote on Election Day – missed being elected to a Family Court bench by 7000 votes out of 550,000 cast. It wouldn’t have taken much to swing that one race and change everybody’s perception going into 2008, but it wasn’t seen as possible. But demographic change and a depressed year for turnout nearly made it happen. You just never know.

My point is simply this. We don’t know what the competitive landscape would look like in a state where the two parties were closer to financial parity. Dems did very well in legislative races in 2006 and 2008, and even did pretty well in 2004, netting a seat in an otherwise pretty red year. In those races they did have the funds to go toe to toe. Doing so at the state level is obviously a tall order, but we won’t know till we try. Unless we find out in a year where we’re not expecting it, of course. I’d rather be prepared for success than find it accidentally. The Democrats here are ready. When will the national party do its part?

There goes the bag drag

That sound you heard was many thousands of dollars being taken in by the President and the DNC.

For the past 22 years, some state Democrats complain, the national party has used Texas like an ATM. The national party’s constant suck of money out of the state without reinvesting in Texas has given Republicans an advantage in state elections, they say.

“If they’d invest this money in Texas, we’d be a blue (Democratic) state,” said long-time party consultant Glenn Smith. “They (national party leaders) come down here and drag the sack and spend the money on themselves.”

During the 2008 election cycle, the Democratic National Committee raised $6.5 million from Texas donors and left $204,000 behind with the state party, according to data kept by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The Ohio Democratic Party got $8.5 million; Pennsylvania, $6.5 million; and Michigan, $4.9 million, to name a few of the states that received more money than Texas from the DNC in 2008. Even neighboring New Mexico received $2.1 million.

Just like John Cornyn said. Thanks for sticking up for us there, Big John. The DMN has more.

DNC to help fund state races?

Interesting.

Texas Democratic Chairman Boyd Richie said today the Democratic National Committee next year may put money into Texas House races because of their importance in drawing new congressional maps in 2011.

Texas is expected to gain three to four seats in the U.S. House in the reapportionment that follows the 2010 census. Those seats are expected to come from Rust Belt Democratic states.

“With three or four new congressional seats that will be created here in Texas, the national party has the idea that they’re going to need to focus some resources here and some help here. Obviously, those seats have to come from somewhere. And if the demographics are true, those seats are Democratic seats now,” Richie said.

The Democratic National Committee is meeting Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Austin. The first time the group has met in Texas since a San Antonio meeting sometime in the late 1970s, Richie said. This is a sign, he said, that national Democrats see Texas as emerging from more than a decade of Republican rule.

Okay, first it’s nice to see the national folks see Texas as an opportunity rather than simply as a fundraising source. It’s about time – way past it, really – for some resources to flow back here. Democrats will never be able to truly compete without being on a more even financial footing.

That said, we do all realize that any gains we may make in the Lege can and will be wiped out if there isn’t enough Democratic representation on the Legislative Redistricting Board to prevent another GOP-friendly map from being drawn, right? Yes, the Speaker sits on the LRB, but so do the Lite Guv, Attorney General, Comptroller, and Land Commissioner. One Democratic voice out of five can only do so much. What if anything are we going to do about this?

I realize that’s not the DNC’s concern so much, as it’s the 2011 Lege that will draw the next Congressional map. But if they’re that concerned about it, perhaps they might consider getting involved in the Governor’s race as well. It sure would be nice to have two of the three players in that process be Democratic, wouldn’t it? Not to mention having a fallback position in the event the takeover of the House falls short. Think big, and give yourself more chances for a good outcome.

The DNC comes to Texas

This is a pleasant surprise.

Calling Texas “a tremendous growth opportunity for the Democratic Party,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine announced this afternoon that Austin will host the Democrats’ annual fall meeting.

The Sept. 10-12 session will highlight positive political trends for Lone Star State Democrats, party officials said.

“Now, some might find that notion odd given Texas’s traditionally conservative bent and its recent history of supporting Republican candidates for elective office,” the Virginia governor said in an email to Democratic National Committee members. “But I don’t find it odd at all — and in fact, I am more convinced than ever that Texas is trending our way and will continue to do so.”

Kaine compared recent Democratic legislative gains in Texas — and major breakthroughs in areas such as Harris and Dallas Counties — to the newfound Democratic dominance in his own home state.

“In so many ways, I believe Texas is poised to move towards our column, just as Virginia has,” he reasoned. “Texas is an increasingly diverse state with a burgeoning and politically active Hispanic population that went strongly for Barack Obama in 2008.”

It’s greatly encouraging to hear things like that being said outside our borders. Maybe if the DNC – and by extension, Team Obama – is serious about making a play for Texas in 2012, it’ll encourage a stronger Democratic push, both in terms of fundraising and candidates, for next year. Sure would be nice to have a strong slate of statewide candidates here to greet these visitors in September, wouldn’t it?