We've received the invitation. We haven't responded to it yet. If the decision is to put a bid in for it, we will be doing it in all seriousness. —Art Raymond, spokesman for Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, a Democrat
SALT LAKE CITY — The short list of cities to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention includes the capital of one of the most Republican states in the nation: Utah.
Salt Lake City is among 15 cities the Democratic National Committee is considering to host the convention where the party's next presidential candidate will be formally nominated, according to The Associated Press.
The city has been invited to bid by June 6 on the multiday event along with Atlanta; Chicago; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Detroit; Indianapolis; Las Vegas; Miami, Nashville, Tenn.; New York; Orlando, Fla.; Philadelphia; Phoenix; and Pittsburgh.
"We've received the invitation. We haven't responded to it yet," said Art Raymond, spokesman for Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, a Democrat. "If the decision is to put a bid in for it, we will be doing it in all seriousness."
Raymond acknowledged political pundits are not giving the city much of a chance.
"It doesn't take any of the shine off the fact that it's quite a distinction, we think, to make the short list," he said. "We're certainly being recognized from a national perspective as a city that's quite capable of hosting an event like this."
Matthew Wilson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, said he was surprised to hear Salt Lake City was on the list. The city had been a runner-up to host the 2012 GOP National Convention that was held in Tampa, Fla.
"I heard much more speculation about the Republican convention," Wilson said.
The Utah GOP looked at bidding for the 2016 Republican National Convention but decided it would be too tough to raise the millions needed to serve as host.
Wilson said Democrats are looking to be more competitive in the West in the next presidential race, "but there is absolutely zero chance of Utah voting Democrat in 2016 or anytime in the forseeable future."
Political parties, he said, often choose a convention site in a large so-called swing state that could go either Republican or Democratic in an election in the hopes of influencing the race.
Other considerations are ties to the nominee or attempting to appeal to a particular constituency.5 comments on this story
Those criteria don't apply to Utah either, Wilson said.
"Democrats aren't really targeting Mormons in 2016 as being convertible," he said, calling Salt Lake a "really nice city" that could do a good job hosting the convention. "It just doesn't make sense from a strategic standpoint."