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Salt Lake City bows out of race for 2016 Democratic convention

Published June 9, 2014 9:28 pm

Politics • Long-shot bid not worth the time and money, Becker's office says.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Salt Lake City won't join the competition to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention — despite being chosen as a finalist and invited to bid for the event.

Mayor Ralph Becker's spokesman, Art Raymond, said that, in the final analysis, other cities already had a sizable head start on Utah's capital.

"The overall evaluation of whether or not to proceed was really based on watching some of the contenders and cities that were very adamant about their enthusiasm to be a host for 2016 and clearly already in the process of investing a ton of money and ton of time in putting bids together," he said. "There was a consensus that this just wasn't the year to do it."

Salt Lake City was also likely a long shot to get the convention, Raymond said, with Cleveland and New York working for months and jockeying hard to be the host.

In April, the Democratic National Committee announced that Salt Lake City made its not-so-short list of 15 finalists invited to vie to host the 2016 convention — despite resting in one of the most conservative states in the nation, a place where Republican Mitt Romney captured nearly 73 percent of the vote in the 2012 presidential election.

While Utah may be rock-red Republican, Salt Lake City remains true-blue Democratic.

Utah's capital hasn't elected a Republican to its officially nonpartisan mayoral post in four decades.

The other cities on the Democrats' convention list were Chicago; Atlanta; Columbus, Ohio; Detroit; Indianapolis; Las Vegas; Miami; Nashville, Tenn.; Orlando, Fla.; Philadelphia, Phoenix and Pittsburgh.

"It would have been a sizable expenditure just to take it to the next level," Raymond said. "It was widely recognized that it requires a very serious commitment of time and resources and to be doing so as a clear long shot, that was the basis upon which the decision was made."

gehrke@sltrib.com

Twitter: @RobertGehrke