Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A year and counting: DNC to mark announcement anniversary

Steve Kerrigan, CEO of the Democratic National Convention Committee, will hold a media briefing Wednesday to mark the anniversary of the announcement that Charlotte will host this year's Democratic National Convention.

Kerrigan will talk to local reporters at his uptown office. He's expected to recount some of the year's milestones, including this month's announcement that the convention will be shortened from four to three days and that President will give his acceptance speech to Bank of America Stadium.

"What a year this has been, " Kerrigan said last week.

Added Mayor Anthony Foxx: "Feb. 1, 2011, will go down as an inflection point in Charlotte's history, completing our transition from 'the little city that could' to the big city that did."

Convention officials say today's will be the first of a regular series of media briefings.

Monday, January 16, 2012

DNC offers their own news alerts

The Democratic National Convention Committee is looking for folks who want to learn news about the convention the moment it breaks. The DNCC is asking people to sign up for e-mail alerts, and you can do that by going to www.demconvention.com/sign-up.asp. (You can also get there via the Democrats’ Twitter account attwitter.com/#!/DemConvention or Facebook account at facebook.com/demconvention.)

In one case, at least, you’ll be ahead of the media. The DNCC has scheduled a press conference to make a yet-undisclosed announcement at 11 a.m. Tuesday. That’s when the media will learn what’s happening – but citizens who request e-mail updates will already have been told.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Politico: DNCC rules have lobbyists scrambling

Politico today reports that new rules for the 2012 Democratic National Convention have Washington's K Street lobbyists scrambling.

"Already, eight months out, K Street is scrambling to overcome the new restrictions. Hired guns and in-house corporate execs are plotting ways around the new rules to make sure they’ll have a prime opportunity to mingle with party operatives and sherpa senior executives into official convention activities.
“The Democrats have made it inconvenient for corporations to donate to the convention but not impossible,” said Kenneth Gross, a veteran ethics lawyer at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom....

"Some lobbyists say they’re looking for ways to get convention access and boost the party despite the new hurdles, although many are grumbling about the challenges.
“I would guess there are going to be companies that figure out, ‘Okay, there’s no real way we’re going to be able to get around the limitation on corporate funding conventions, so what we’ll do is we will just get a block of rooms or condos somewhere near downtown and we’ll pay for that,’” one Democratic lobbyist said. “And then, if there’s a way that our executives or Washington folks can get access to credentials through whatever means, well, we’ll just leave them to figure out what those channels might be.”
Others are threatening to stay home and withhold their help, which makes convention planners worry."

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

DNC subcontracting process kicks off

Interested in subcontracting for the Democratic National Convention?

Convention organizers and the Hargrove/Rodgers Russell Hunt construction management team have announced that construction "pre-qualification" forms are now available. They can be found on the vendor directory at http://www.demconvention.com/. The deadline for returning pre-qualification forms is March 1.

Subcontractors will be selected from those who go through the pre-qualification process.

According to a convention news release, subs will be able to bid on work including carpentry, electrical, fencing and barricades, IT, scaffold platforms and other jobs.
-- Jim Morrill

Kerrigan 'educates' DC donors

Republicans cried hypocrisy last week when Politico ran an item that suggested the Democratic convention might be looking for money from Washington’s influential K Street lobbying firms.

Self-imposed party rules for this year’s convention bar contributions from lobbyists and corporations.

Politico Influence, a section dedicated to coverage of Capitol Hill lobbying, reported that “Paper has been circulated on K Street on the Charlotte 2012 Convention Host Committee’s fundraising packages … The four-page document … was distributed after an inside-the-Beltway meeting Democratic National Convention Committee CEO Steve Kerrigan held before the holidays.”

The packages, on which The Observer has reported, offer premium levels – including choice hotel rooms – in return for contributions.

Convention officials say Kerrigan was not soliciting lobbyists. Host committee spokeswoman Suzi Emmerling said Kerrigan was “educating Beltway types about the new rules.”

“Because this is the first convention in history that will not accept monetary contributions from lobbyists, corporations and PACs (political action committees), a big part of our fundraising effort is educating donors…,” Emmerling said.

Said state GOP spokesman Rob Lockwood: “If this event is solely funded ‘by the people,’ (Democratic) Chairwoman (Debbie Wasserman-) Schultz must have meant, ‘the people of K Street.’” Jim Morrill

Monday, January 9, 2012

Charlotte to launch Obama-Clinton?

Obama-Clinton in 2012?

It should happen, New York Times columnist Bill Keller opined today.

To be clear: He's proposing Hillary Clinton, not ex-prez Bill, as President Barack Obama's running mate.

That would certainly ramp up the excitement in Charlotte come September, when Democrats gather here to nominate its 2012 ticket.

There's no evidence that it will happen. In fact, the suggestion -- a favorite what-if scenario with bloggers for months -- has gotten not even a hint of encouragement from the White House.

But Keller makes a persuasive case:

"The arguments in favor are as simple as one-two-three. One: it does more to guarantee Obama’s re-election than anything else the Democrats can do. Two: it improves the chances that, come next January, he will not be a lame duck with a gridlocked Congress but a rejuvenated president with a mandate and a Congress that may be a little less forbidding. Three: it makes Hillary the party’s heir apparent in 2016. If she sits out politics for the next four years, other Democrats (yes, Governor Andrew Cuomo, we see your hand up) will fill the void."

Keller goes on:

"She would bring to this year’s campaign a missing warmth and some of the voltage that has dissipated as Obama moved from campaigning to governing. What excites is not just the prospect of having a woman a heartbeat — and four years — away from the presidency, although she certainly embodies the aspirations of many women. It’s the possibility that the first woman at the top would have qualifications so manifest that her first-ness was a secondary consideration."

We'd add a few more admittedly parochial reasons Hillary should do it: It would make the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte doubly historic -- and would take all the planned parties up a notch or two. And her acceptance speech would get even more people around the world to tune in to Charlotte's show.

What would happen to the current veep, Joe Biden?

Keller subscribes to the other idea that's been out there on the blogs: Biden takes over Clinton's job as secretary of state -- a job that would be a perfect fit for him. And a distinguished way to end his career.

Keller again:

"That leaves the delicate question of ditching Joe Biden. He is not a dazzling campaigner, and — five years Hillary’s senior — he is not Obama’s successor. But he is a loyal and accomplished public servant who deserves to be treated with honor.

"A political scientist I know proposes the following choreography: In the late winter or early spring, Hillary steps down as secretary of state to rest and write that book. The president assigns Biden — the former chairman of Senate Foreign Relations — to add State to his portfolio, making him the most powerful vice president in history. Come the party convention in September, Obama swallows his considerable pride and invites a refreshed Hillary to join the ticket. Biden keeps State. The musicians play 'Happy Days Are Here Again' as if they really mean it."


Check out Keller's entire column: www.nytimes.com/2012/01/09/opinion/keller-just-the-ticket.html?_r=1&ref=global-home

Tim Funk

Friday, January 6, 2012

Will Charlotte convention pick deliver North Carolina to Obama?

Leaders of President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign clearly think picking Charlotte as the site for the 2012 Democratic National Convention will help them re-take North Carolina’s 15 electoral votes this year.

Campaign manager Jim Messina said as much to reporters recently: “We put the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., in part because we believe so strongly” that winning North Carolina and Virginia is a path to victory.

But is there any evidence that holding a convention in a state helps the candidate win it in November?

Not really. And yet . . .

That was the answer the Observer got from Josh Putnam, a professor of political science at Davidson College and author of an influential political blog called Frontloading HQ (frontloading.blogspot.com)

“There’s no evidence of that,” he said, “but with a few caveats. Traditionally, these things have been held in big cities and the same big cities over and over again. New York, Chicago, L.A . . . . We have not, prior to 2008, seen an effort on the part of the parties to specifically select sites based on how they would play in the general election.”

In 2008, though, the Democrats picked Denver in hopes of winning Colorado (they did) and Republicans selected St. Paul in hopes of winning Minnesota (they didn’t).

Then Putnam said this, which is the “And yet” part.

“We’ve seen a pretty clear trend over the last 20 years: The Democrats have not lost a state they’ve held a convention in – since 1988 in Atlanta,” he said. “And Republicans have not won a state in which they’ve held a convention – since 1992, when the convention was in Houston and Bush won Texas.”

Here's the record:


1992: Convention in New York; Clinton-Gore carries New York.

1996: Convention in Chicago; Clinton-Gore carries Illinois.

2000: Convention in Los Angeles; Gore-Lieberman carries California.

2004: Convention in Boston; Kerry-Edwards carries Massachusetts.

2008: Convention in Denver; Obama-Biden carries Colorado.

2012: Convention in Charlotte; will Obama-Biden carry North Carolina?


1996: Convention in San Diego; Dole-Kemp loses California.

2000: Convention in Philadelphia; Bush-Cheney loses Pennsylvania.

2004: Convention in New York; Bush-Cheney loses New York.

2008: Convention in St. Paul; McCain-Palin loses Minnesota.

2012: Convention in Tampa; will GOP ticket carry Florida?
Tim Funk