SLC in the running to host 2016 Democratic National Convention

Posted at 9:57 PM, Apr 22, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-22 23:57:54-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- It seems like the most unlikely place to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

But Salt Lake City, a blue dot in red state Utah, is a contender to host the Democratic party's national convention. On Tuesday, the DNC confirmed that Salt Lake City is among 15 cities being considered as the site where the next Democratic presidential nominee would be chosen.

"Utah could be the next swing state," said Matt Lyon, the executive director of the Utah Democratic Party.

The DNC asked the mayors of 15 cities to submit bids to host the party convention. Other cities include Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Miami, Las Vegas and Phoenix.

Salt Lake City has been considered in years past a potential site for the Republican National Convention.

Despite a lack of Democrats in Utah, the DNC is looking at cities with the capabilities of hosting a convention that would bring in tens of thousands. Lyon pointed to the Salt Palace, light rail and the pending convention center mega hotel as attractive incentives.

"Downtown really is the epicenter for Utah's convention industry," said Jason Mathis, the executive director of the Downtown Alliance.

Most recently, downtown Salt Lake City hosted more than 100,000 for Salt Lake Comic Con's Fan-X.

But the Salt Lake County Mayor's Office said a proposed convention center mega hotel may not be built in time. The Utah State Legislature backed funding for it, and a request for bids to build it is slated to go out in the next couple of months. Mayor Ben McAdams' office said any convention hotel may not be completed until 2017.

"Money can probably solve lots of things," said Mathis. "But I think it's a long build out. We may have missed this time around for the convention center hotel."

Mathis was optimistic. He said Utah could certainly consider either party's convention for 2020 or 2024.