Hosting Political Conventions Brings Troubles

Thursday, 24 Feb 2011 11:36 AM

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The cities of Tampa and Charlotte are finding that hosting the national political conventions in 2012 have a downside that includes fights over money, inconvenience to residents, and bad publicity. Even the economic boon the cities expected may not materialize, The Washington Post reported.

hosting, political, conventions, troublesTampa, which will host the Republican National Convention, got a dose of bad publicity when the new RNC chief Reince Priebus fired the party’s Tampa staff which by the end of last year had plowed through more than $600,000 on hotel bills, travel, and a rented waterfront home for an assistant of former RNC Chairman Michael Steele.

“We could see what was happening, but Steele was a great supporter of Tampa, so it was hard,” a source told the Post.

The host cities are also expected to come up with millions to cover costs and Charlotte, which will host the Democratic National Convention, may have a tough time as President Barack Obama has ruled out accepting money from corporate donors. Charlotte Host Committee’s Will Mille admitted the rule will “make it more challenging … but we went into this with our eyes open,” the Post said.

Any economic benefits that may accrue from hosting a national convention tend to go to national companies such as hotel chains or are short-lived, according to a study by the economics department of Holy Cross College, of Worcester, Mass. David Passafaro, who was president of the host committee in 2004 when Boston held the Democratic convention, said “there’s always this initial euphoria that this is going to be a jackpot – that everyone is going to make a gazillion dollars – and that is not true.”

The downside of hosting a convention has led a number of cities to pass on the honor in recent years. On that list are Los Angeles in 2008 and Philadelphia and Orlando in 2012, the Post said.

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