Democrats, Republicans Urged to Hold 2008 Conventions in New Orleans

By Nathan Burchfiel | July 7, 2008 | 8:31pm EDT

( - In spite of the fact that New Orleans officials in July withdrew their bid to host the 2008 Democratic National Convention, the president of the National Urban League on Wednesday urged both parties to hold their conventions in the city.

New Orleans on July 13 said it was too difficult to raise money to finance a national political convention. A spokesman for the city told Congressional Quarterly that city officials wanted to focus on rebuilding the city after Hurricane Katrina instead of spending time and money on a political convention.

According to New York City officials, the 2004 Republican National Convention cost the city more than $86 million but brought in $341 million, creating a net gain of $255 million. The 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston cost more than $50 million, but brought in an estimated $156 million in profits.

National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial said such a windfall could help rebuild New Orleans and that hosting one of the conventions there "will also demonstrate that the nation's political leaders are squarely and solidly committed to rebuilding."

In a letter sent Wednesday Morial urged DNC Chairman Howard Dean and RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman to consider New Orleans.

Morial asked both political leaders to limit convention expenditures to 50 percent of the 2004 levels and contribute the rest to rebuilding the Gulf Coast.

"The GOP came to New York City's rescue in 2004. Why can't the political parties come to the aid of New Orleans, which was hit by a tragedy nearly as grave as 9/11 and as deserving of such grand gestures," Morial said.

"Our political leaders need to put their rhetoric into real action. What better way to help the victims than to hold their conventions right in the midst of Katrina's Ground Zero," Morial said.

Republicans are considering hosting their 2008 conventions in Cleveland, Minneapolis, New York City or Tampa. Democrats are considering Denver, Minneapolis and New York City.

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