Charlotte to DNC: We’re the ‘new American city’

Leaders of Charlotte’s bid to win the 2012 Democratic national convention wrapped up meetings with party officials Wednesday, promising they can deliver the millions of dollars needed to host the event.

At a news conference, Gov. Bev Perdue, Mayor Anthony Foxx and Duke Energy Chief Executive Officer Jim Rogers contrasted Charlotte with three other finalist cities by repeatedly saying it best represents a “new American city” and “the future.”

Local officials have toured the city with Democrats for two days, hoping to persuade them that Charlotte has the requisite hotel rooms, convention space and other amenities for the national event.

On Wednesday, the group lunched at The King’s Kitchen, a nonprofit uptown restaurant that employs troubled youths and adults and donates its profits to charitable causes.

Rogers, co-chair of Charlotte’s campaign, said the Charlotte group told party officials they could produce a plan to raise $40 million from private sources within 45 days.

That’s the amount of money leaders have said would be needed to host thousands of delegates, media and other visitors.

He said he would ask for money and in-kind contributions from North Carolina’s 14 Fortune 500 corporations, as well as businesses, unions and individuals from around the nation.

Rogers acknowledged obtaining the money presents a challenge, but said “Charlotte is a can-do city.”

The Democratic National Committee last month named Charlotte a finalist for the convention, along with Minneapolis, Cleveland and St. Louis.

DNC Chairman Tim Kaine will appear at UNC Charlotte on Friday to deliver the keynote address at the College Democrats of America National Convention.

A decision on the 2012 national convention isn’t expected until later this year.

During Wednesday’s news conference, Perdue and Foxx said that Charlotte would provide the best backdrop for a national convention.

“If the future matters in 2012, I don’t think there is any place better than Charlotte,” Foxx said.

Asked to handicap the city’s chances, Foxx refused. He did, however, say the meetings with party officials were “successful.”

“We put our best foot forward,” Foxx said.