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Democrats consider Pittsburgh for 2016 national convention

| Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 12:24 p.m.

Mayor Bill Peduto wants more than publicity for Pittsburgh if it hosts the Democratic National Convention in 2016.

The presidential nominating convention must benefit businesses and city residents, Peduto said on Tuesday.

“It's obviously good promotion for the city,” he said. “Being a Democrat, I would also like to be able to promote my city to Democrats from around the country, as long as it comes in a way that benefits for more than just promotional purposes.”

The Democratic National Committee asked 15 cities, including Pittsburgh, to submit proposals to host its next convention. Peduto said he learned of the city's selection late afternoon Monday. Earlier this year, Pittsburgh was among 30 finalists.

Peduto said Allegheny County, VisitPittsburgh, a nonprofit tourism promotion agency, and Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills, would be involved in the application process because it is a regional proposal.

The host city must have at least 17,000 hotel rooms and 1,000 suites, and the convention requires a venue that can seat 18,500 to 25,000 people with 100 boxes, according to the DNC. A potential site would be Consol Energy Center in Uptown, Peduto said, as it has enough capacity.

Craig Davis, president and chief executive officer of VisitPittsburgh, said hosting the convention would likely fill all the hotels in Pittsburgh's metro area and perhaps as far away as Butler. If chosen, Davis estimated the economic impact would be “tens of millions” of dollars.

“We held the G-20 (global economic summit), multiple big sporting events,” he said. “This again would show the world that we not only can host it physically, but we can execute it expertly,” Davis said.

The final night of the 2012 convention in Charlotte, when President Obama accepted the party's nomination, drew 35.7 million television viewers, according to Nielsen, the TV ratings service.

The DNC will accept proposals through June 6 and will pick a host city either late this year or in early 2015.

Other cities under consideration include: Atlanta; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Detroit; Indianapolis; Las Vegas; Miami; Nashville; Orlando; Philadelphia; Phoenix and Salt Lake City.

Some cities seem more likely than others. For instance, Obama, who will be leaving the White House in 2017, calls Chicago home, and his potential successor, Hillary Clinton, is from Illinois. Clinton also represented New York in the Senate.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Melissa Daniels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8511 or mdaniels@tribweb.com.

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