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12 January 2010

Organizing The 2010 Georgia State Democratic Convention

Four years ago this September, the Georgia Democratic Party gathered in my hometown of College Park for its quadrennial state convention. During the summer of 2006, three people --Anne Bartoletti, Pat Pullar and myself-- worked feverishly to ensure a successful state convention for the Democrats; and I believe we did a good job.

Now, Georgia Democrats are once again looking at a state convention which, according to the state Democratic party's governing documents, must be held on a date between the general primary and the general election. It's up to the state Democratic executive committee to pick a date, but I'd suggest Saturday, September 18th. That date is after the July primary, after the August run-off, and is about 6 weeks until the November election.

A state Democratic convention outside of metro Atlanta is a good thing.

I agree with both Dustin of Georgia Liberal and Keith McCants of Peanut Politics that the 2010 state Democratic convention need not be held in Atlanta. The question, however, is where outside of metro Atlanta should the convention be held. I'm partial to south Georgia or central Georgia.

However, if the Democrats' convention is to be held in a city outside of the metro Atlanta, there are three major factors that must be considered.

  • Facilities - The convention host city must have a large hall capable of seating a minimum of 1,000 people (members of the state Democratic committee, at least two delegates for every county, a minimum of one alternate for each county, two delegates from every state Senate district appointed by the gubernatorial nominee and the general public).

    Additionally, rooms must be available for other convention business; particularly the meetings of the four standing convention committees -- Rules, Platform, Credentials and Resolutions.

  • Delegate Accomodations - The people I just listed need a place to stay.

    Is there a city in Georgia, other than Atlanta, that has the hotel capacity to accomodate all those folks for at least two days?

    Are the hotel rooms affordable?

    Those are good questions that need answering for any city thinking about hosting the state Democratic convention.

  • Cost - The 2006 state Democratic convention was the first in recent memory to make money.

    That was due, in part, to delegate registration fees as well as the deal Pat Pullar negotiated with the Georgia International Convention Center.

    Also, we relied heavily on donations from C-SPAN, Coca-Cola, the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Atlanta Braves for the delegate goodie bags.

    Craftsmen Graphics, a union printer, gave us a good deal on printing the credential badges delegates wore around their necks.

    Anything we didn't have to absolutely pay for, we didn't.

    And we had a lot of great volunteers.
So those are my thoughts (and I speak on a little bit of authority since I helped organize the last state Democratic convention).

I wonder if anyone down at 1100 Spring Street, Suite 408, Atlanta, GA 30309 is listening.