President Barack Obama only won about 38 percent of the vote in Alabama in 2012, but Democrats are considering holding their national convention in the Deep South state in 2016.
On Saturday, party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced that six cities submitted bids to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
Along with Birmingham, Ala., Wasserman Schultz said Cleveland, Columbus, New York, Philadelphia and Phoenix are also competing to host the convention.
“Hosting a party convention is a true honor and we’re thrilled with all the fantastic options that we have going into the next cycle,” Wasserman Schultz said. “We look forward to evaluating these bids and selecting a city to host this special gathering of Democrats.”
The chairwoman said the convention bids will be evaluated by a party committee over the next few months. A final decision will be announced in late 2014 or early 2015, she said.
Alabama is hardly a place where the Democratic Party is vibrant: there are no Democrats elected statewide; only one if its seven members of Congress is a Democrat; and the last time the state voted for a Democrat for president was in 1976 for Jimmy Carter.
AL.com reported that Birmingham’s application to the DNC described the city as a place “of continual progress, rich history and events that inspire freedom and hope on an international scale.”
One thing that could scare Democrats on the site-selection committee: In 2011, Jefferson County — which includes Birmingham – filed for bankruptcy, the biggest municipal bankruptcy in the country before Detroit took the honor last year.
Birmingham is a city of just over 200,000 people. When choosing convention sites, national parties look for a city that has an arena big enough for a convention, in addition to having enough hotel rooms and transportation options for the thousands of people that take over the city for a week.
Birmingham’s leaders have raised eyebrows for bidding to host major events before: former mayor Larry Langford proposed in 2008 that city host the Olympics in 2020.
Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee is deciding between Cleveland, Dallas, Denver and Kansas City for its 2016 convention.