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Indianapolis Could Seek Presidential Convention In 2016

The Victory statue atop the Soldiers and Sailors Monument before restoration began earlier this year.

Indianapolis could be in the mix for the next round of national political conventions. But the man who led its last effort thinks the city should pass.

Governor Mitch Daniels is staying out of contemporary political discussions in preparation for his upcoming job as president of Purdue. Back in 1998, though, he was an Eli Lilly vice president when Republicans called on his Reagan White House experience to help land the 2000 convention.

Daniels recalls Indy was the frontrunner until a late plea from RNC fundraisers swung the vote to Philadelphia — they thought the patriotic aura of Independence Hall and other historic sites would draw more big donors. Daniels says maybe that’s a good thing, as the host city often loses money.

“These national conventions, it‘s hard to get near the place; it isn’t flung open, really, to all kinds of additional people,” Daniels says.

Indy hasn’t pursued a national party convention since. But that could change in 2016. Indiana Democratic Chairman Dan Parker says Democrats invited Indianapolis to bid for this year‘s convention. The city had its hands full preparing for the Super Bowl and had to pass. But Parker says Indy may be a contender for 2016.

“Indianapolis can handle it a lot more now than it did when the Republicans put in a bid back for the 2000 convention,” Parker says. “We’ve proven with the Super Bowl effort that we can put on a world-class event. And it‘s also the state‘s 200th birthday.”

Parker notes the Democratic convention has about 1,600 more delegates and alternates than the GOP gathering.

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