- Associated Press - Thursday, February 12, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Columbus lost its bid to host the Democratic Party’s presidential nominating convention in 2016, but Ohio will still play a key political role that summer as Republicans make their selection in Cleveland.

The Democratic National Committee announced Thursday that its national convention will be in Philadelphia the week of July 25, 2016, a week after Republicans gather in Cleveland. Philadelphia was chosen over Ohio’s capital and Brooklyn, New York.

“While we were not successful this time around, we will be back in 2020 in hopes of landing a political convention in our city. … We congratulate Philadelphia on their success, but we continue to celebrate our own achievement as we have already begun to change how the world views Columbus,” Mayor Michael Coleman said in a statement from the Columbus host committee.

Columbus’ location, in a coveted bellwether state and within a day’s drive of nearly half the U.S. population, was viewed as a strength. But, the city - always with the qualifying Ohio behind its name - has spent years trying to distinguish itself on the national stage as it has grown in population, diversity and cultural opportunities. Its transportation access and relative fundraising ability were considered drawbacks.

The Columbus 2016 Host Committee lobbying for the convention had hired an expert consultant to help draft a transportation plan to get around the city’s lack of a subway system and the need for delegates to travel to hotel clusters outside of downtown. The event traditionally attracts thousands of political operatives, donors and journalists.

Had the city been chosen, it would have been an historic first with Ohio hosting both parties’ conventions in the same year. It also would have been a first for Columbus, though Cincinnati and Cleveland have hosted a combined five conventions going back to 1856.

A spokesman for Gov. John Kasich said the Republican was disappointed by Thursday’s announcement.

“We continue to believe that Columbus is the ideal host city for the DNC, we’re proud of the effort the mayor and his team put forth during this process, and we will continue to look for future opportunities to showcase Ohio’s great cities on a national stage,” spokesman Rob Nichols said in an email.

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