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History, family ties might swing Democrats to Philadelphia for convention

| Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

WASHINGTON — One of five cities bidding for the Democratic National Convention, Philadelphia appears to hold an early edge with a track record of hosting the major gathering — not to mention that Hillary Rodham Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden have family ties to the state.

The original capital and the nation's fifth-largest city, Philadelphia touts its historical significance. It has hosted the presidential nominating convention seven times since 1856, most recently the Republican one in 2000.

Also vying for the 2016 convention are Birmingham, Ala.; Brooklyn, N.Y.; Columbus, Ohio; and Phoenix — each hoping to host its first presidential convention.

“I do think that Philadelphia has a very good chance of getting it,” said former DNC Chairman Joe Andrew, who guided the party's selection of convention cities from 1996 to 2004 and supports the city's bid. He noted that Philadelphia was a front-runner for the 2000 Democratic convention, but Republicans picked it first.

“Philadelphia has a strong bid based on great mechanics, and there's no question that Democrats would like to nail down Pennsylvania,” Andrew said. He said Clinton's and Biden's family ties to Pennsylvania will likely be “a consideration.”

Former DNC Chairman Howard Dean, who presided over the Democrats' choice of Denver in 2008, rated the city as a top contender.

DNC members will be in the City of Brotherly Love for two days starting on Wednesday to review potential venues, hotels and transportation options for the estimated 50,000 delegates, party activists and media expected for the convention. Visits to the other cities are to be completed by mid-September.

The Obama White House will weigh in on the final selection, with a decision not expected until later this year or early in 2015.

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