Nominations & Conventions

Current Practices

Choosing a Convention Site
related video
Joan Menard on choosing a convention city.
Steve Kerrigan on convention coordination.

National parties choose convention sites several years in advance.  Many factors go into the site selection, including practical ones. Cities must have adequate hotel and meeting hall facilities and be willing to put up considerable amounts of money. Hotels always do well, but especially post 9/11, with security parameters around convention halls, other businesses in the city can and do suffer.

Both parties chose Miami Beach in 1972 for a reason: its island location made it easier to contain protesters and the Democrats were looking for a calmer experience in the wake of 1968. 

When conventions re-nominate a sitting president, party leaders tend to defer to the president’s site preference.  In 2004, Republicans chose New York City, which suffered from the 2001 terrorist attacks, and it highlighted President Bush’s strengths.  In 2012, Democrats chose Charlotte, North Carolina in no small part due to their desire to win the state again.