Denver Convention to Represent the Political and Geographic Center

The essence of a media conference call with DNC Chair Gov. Howard Dean and Colorado political leadership on the announcement that Denver would host the party’s 2008 presidential convention repeated a common theme: the Western Strategy wins races.

Dean reiterated:

Victories by strong Democratic candidates across the West in the last couple of elections show how important the West is and shows hat if we win the West we win the presidency. As the Democratic gains in November demonstrated that if we show up and work hard and ask for people’s votes everywhere we can win in any part of this country. And we think the Denver convention will give our nominee the opportunity to show the American people that Democratic Party values are American values.

While he dismissed reporters questions about whether the local stagehand union’s refusal to sign a non-strike pledge delayed the decision, he made a point of thanking national and local labor leadership in working closely with the Denver committee. The AP reported today that a compromise was reached to staff the Pepsi Center with union members during the convention.

Dean called holding the party’s spotlight event in the West as “putting your money where your mouth is” in tandem with the 50 State Strategy of supporting political organizing for potential long-term gains at both the local and national level.

Gov. Bill Ritter thanked the DNC for selecting Denver to host the event and added that “it is for us here in the heartland to acknowledge the role that we play — Democratic governors in the Plains and the West.” Ritter referred to today’s announcement as a “political hat trick” for him capping off his first few days in office.

Centrism was also a key theme in the remarks of Sen. Ken Salazar. He mentioned the importance of renewable energy, transportation, health care, and land protection and Colorado’s leadership on those issues for the rest of the nation.

Mayor John Hickenlooper echoed his colleague’s comments by likening the Democratic Party to the new frontier spirit of entrepreneurialism that values growth, change and service. The mayor’s emphasis that the city of Denver is nearly at the geographic center of the United States will likely be a recurring messaging theme for the Democrats.

The DNC convention will be held from August 25-28, 2008 and is expected to attract 35,000 people to the Denver Metro area, including nearly 5,000 delegates and alternates.

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Wendy Norris

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