Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell says a local host committee may have to raise around $40 million for the Democratic National Convention if Philadelphia is named the site of the 2016 gathering.
Rendell is chairman of Philadelphia 2016, the nonprofit formed to prepare the city’s bid for the convention and manage preparations if it wins the sweepstakes. Political parties know that cities covet the media exposure and spending that come with a convention, so they expect a host city to come up with a pile of cash for the honor.
Four years ago, the Democratic National Committee required the Charlotte, North Carolina, host committee to commit more than $36 million to stage the event. The DNC isn’t sharing its bid specs for the 2016 convention. And Rendell said they aren’t asking for a specific sum, but he estimates his committee will have to raise $40 million to $45 million to host the Democrats. He said it might be less if the Democrats decide to make it a shorter convention.
Rendell noted that when the city won the Republican convention in 2000, then Gov. Tom Ridge chipped in $7 million in state funds.
“If we are successful with the bid, it’s my hope that Gov. Corbett or [Democratic gubernatorial nominee] Tom Wolf will agree to give us the inflationary equivalent of $7 million,” Rendell said.
That would amount to about $9.6 million from a state that is currently struggling with a projected deficit of $1.4 billion for the coming budget year.
Corbett’s spokesman Jay Pagni said if the city gets the convention and the governor gets a request, he’ll consider it. Mayor Michael Nutter says the city itself can’t contribute, so the host committee will have to rely on private and corporate donors for the rest.
Rendell said it helps that fundraising for this convention will not be limited by a ban on corporate contributions which President Obama imposed on the 2012 convention. “I am confident that, if we are the host city, we’ll be able to get corporations all over the country to contribute, and assume the amount is 40, 45 [million], I think we can do that,” Rendell said.
Rendell said one factor that may complicate fundraising for the convention is the fact that donors in the region are now being asked to fund next September’s World Meeting of Families, which may include a visit from the pope.
There’s no official fundraising goal for that event, but some familiar with the effort expect it will also require around $40 million in contributions. Rendell said Philadelphia is a first-class city and can handle both events.