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Rahm opens door to Dem convention

Updated: May 24, 2014 6:43AM



WASHINGTON — Mayor Rahm Emanuel opened the door on Tuesday for the city to bid for the 2016 Democratic convention, a switch from February, when City Hall was not interested.

“We will evaluate the opportunity this could provide and proceed accordingly,” Emanuel spokesman Sarah Hamilton told me.

It’s not clear what has changed or how serious Emanuel really is about pursuing the Democratic convention, which would come as he ramps up his 2015 re-election bid.

Sometimes Emanuel just likes to look like a player.

By February, the Democratic and Republican National Committees had already launched their respective 2016 site selection searches, sending out letters to cities — including to Chicago — with general details about what a host city would have to put up to win the convention.

Both the DNC and the RNC require an enormous financial package from a host city — multi-millions of dollars — to pay for a variety of activities and services, including throwing in the venue itself.

Back in February, Hamilton told me, “We are not actively pursuing either one.” Hamiton said that the only way Emanuel would have contemplated a bid was if both parties agreed in advance to have their conventions in the same city, and that was not going to be the case in 2016.

In a Feb. 7 letter, DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., solicited about 30 cities, including Chicago, asking for a reply in writing by March 1 if the city wanted to pursue a formal bid.

Chicago never sent in a written reply by the deadline. Still, on Tuesday, the DNC sent a formal “request for proposal” to 15 cities, including Chicago.

The RFP was sent to Chicago because “there were conversations between the DNC and Chicago that indicated the door was still open to consider bidding on the convention,” a DNC spokesman, Lily Adams, told me.

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