Politics & Government

Charlotte may say 'no thanks' to 2012 party conventions

Some cities are thinking twice about hosting political conventions.
Some cities are thinking twice about hosting political conventions. Irwin Thompson / Dalls Morning News

CHARLOTTE — Over the years, Charlotte leaders have helped build a 700-room hotel and schmoozed Washington insiders to convince Republicans and Democrats to stage a national political convention here.

But as the parties prepare to solicit bids for their 2012 conventions, Charlotte officials are asking a different question this year: Is it worth it?

A convention could pour millions of dollars into the local economy and bring a raft of free publicity from media around the globe.

But Mayor Pat McCrory says hosting a convention could cost $60 million.

And experts say the economic benefits and media exposure are often far smaller than city boosters tell the public.

In recent years, cities such as Los Angeles and New York have declined to submit bids or withdrawn them because of the cost of hosting conventions.

N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue sparked debate last month when she said she had lobbied Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine to hold his party's 2012 convention in Charlotte. City Councilwoman Susan Burgess said she has also signed a letter to Kaine urging the party to select Charlotte.

To read the complete article, visit www.charlotteobserver.com.