- Associated Press - Thursday, February 12, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) - Mayor Bill de Blasio made a strong push to bring the 2016 Democratic National Convention to Brooklyn, cheerleading its urban comeback story and liberal credentials while tirelessly working behind the scenes to raise money for what he envisioned would be a coronation for his former boss, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

But the national Democratic party chose Philadelphia on Thursday, opting for swing state optics and simpler logistics over Brooklyn’s trendy grit and deep pockets. The decision was a blow to de Blasio, who relentlessly championed his borough’s ascension as the perfect home for a media friendly convention that would see President Barack Obama pass the torch to the Democrats’ next standard bearer.

“I really do believe a convention in Brooklyn would have sent a great message about what this country has historically been and can be in the future: an inclusive place, a place for everyone,” de Blasio said in a news conference hours after the Democratic National Committee announced its choice. “I’m disappointed, by definition.”

De Blasio also congratulated Philadelphia which, notably, he did not do in a statement released immediately after the decision.

Before making its choice, the national party had stressed the importance of logistics and fundraising after problems with both in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2012. Brooklyn led the other finalists - which, beyond Philadelphia, included Columbus, Ohio - in raising money, in part thanks to a committee of well-heeled donors who contributed despite not all being natural allies of the liberal de Blasio.

But logistics were never a slam dunk for Brooklyn. The convention would have been centered in the gleaming Barclays Center, the home of the NBA’s Nets in downtown Brooklyn, but some of the delegates would have had to stay across the river in Manhattan.

And while de Blasio and his team repeatedly boasted about the public transit options to the arena, which included several subway lines and a commuter rail stop, the frozen zone that would have been put in place far in advance to secure the site would have disrupted life in several bustling neighborhoods.

Philadelphia, meanwhile, touted that most of its hotels were grouped in a walkable downtown but the arena that would house the convention is located in a sports complex removed from downtown, making it easier to secure.

New York would have been a homecoming of sorts for Clinton, who represented the state in the U.S. Senate and has a home in the suburbs north of the city. But aides to de Blasio said Clinton’s recent inclination to base her campaign in New York City - a process that her team is coordinating with City Hall - also hurt Brooklyn’s chances, since party officials were reluctant to house two major campaign markers in the same city.

Additionally, a convention in deep-blue Brooklyn could attract protests from the left - where Clinton was vulnerable in 2008 - and stir uncomfortable conversations about the Clintons’ ties to nearby Wall Street as their party takes a more populist turn.

De Blasio is expected to still be a key liberal surrogate for Clinton if she runs. He was the campaign manager of her 2000 Senate bid and has made several recent public appearances with her and her husband. But losing the DNC, which would have been the first New York-based convention outside of Manhattan, remains a defeat for de Blasio, who has had limited success swaying events outside his home city. He campaigned aggressively to flip the state Senate to the Democrats last fall only to see his party lose seats.

De Blasio, who said he was satisfied with Brooklyn’s bid, would not rule out making another attempt for a future convention and dismissed talk that the decision was a rebuke to himself or the progressive politics he represents.

New York last hosted a convention in 2004, when it held the Republican National Convention. The Democrats last used the nation’s largest city in 1992.

Despite some fundraising concerns, Philadelphia was viewed as the favorite throughout the process and also has ties to Hillary Clinton, whose father was raised in nearby Scranton. Additionally, Pennsylvania is considered a nominal swing state, often a plus in convention calculus, even though it last went for the GOP in 1988.

The Republicans are holding their convention in Cleveland.

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