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Tampa among cities invited to host Democratic convention

Tribune staff
Published:   |   Updated: February 27, 2014 at 04:42 PM

TAMPA — Tampa is one of dozens of U.S. cities that have been invited to submit bids to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention, according to a high-ranking Florida Democratic official.

Alan Clendenin, first vice chairman of the Florida Democratic Party, confirmed that Tampa got a letter from Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz inquiring whether officials are interested in hosting the 2016 convention.

The only other Florida city to get such a letter was Miami.

Dozens of other cities around the country also got letters from Wasserman Schultz, a U.S. representative from Broward County.

Clendenin said an early favorite to host the convention is Columbus, Ohio. When the Democrats met in New Orleans in November, a contingent from Columbus put on a strong presentation to impress party leaders with the Ohio capital city’s capacity for hosting the convention.

“They really came out of the gate strong,” Clendenin said.

At least two cities — Portland, Ore., and St. Louis — already have turned down the recent invitation, in part because of the local financial commitment required, according to reports in the Oregonian and Post-Dispatch newspapers.

Tampa was the host city for the 2012 Republican National Convention. Reviews on the experience were mixed.

Mayor Bob Buckhorn and some business leaders called the event a success and a major financial benefit for hotels and restaurants and the city’s image.

Others, including downtown businesses, complained about an intimidating security presence, including armed National Guard troops on street corners.

Stay with TBO.com for updates.