Phoenix is out of the running to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention, national party leaders announced on Monday.
The Democrats had listed Phoenix among cities under consideration for the presidential-nominating convention. Three cities were named as finalists: Columbus, Ohio; New York and Philadelphia.
Red-state cities Phoenix and Birmingham, Ala., were eliminated from the final leg of the process. Party officials narrowed the list of contenders after visiting five cities this fall.
“We are fortunate to have such a diverse and vibrant group of cities interested in hosting this special event, and we thank Phoenix and Birmingham for showcasing their special communities,” DNC Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a written statement.
Phoenix hasn’t succeeded in several previous bids to host the Democratic or Republican conventions, but city leaders had hoped improvements to downtown would change the outcome.
“It’s the first time we’ve made it this far in pursuing a major political convention,” said Mayor Greg Stanton. “That’s a testament to the investments we’ve made to advance our city and also to the hard-working and passionate team that led this effort.”
Stanton, a Democrat, had suggested that picking Phoenix would make political sense for the party, saying the state’s increasingly active Latino voters represent the future of U.S. politics.
But some Democratic insiders feared Arizona’s politics would ultimately be a handicap, particularly after Republicans swept every statewide race on the ballot this month.
Stanton and a delegation of Phoenix leaders traveled to Washington, D.C., in June to boost the city’s bid. He said the city must send the message that it has “gone the opposite way” of conservative state lawmakers when it comes to policies affecting Latino and gay residents.
Phoenix also submitted a bid to host the 2016 Republican National Convention but was eliminated in April.
The city’s GOP bid was overshadowed by a national controversy over the Arizona Legislature’s right-to-refuse-service bill known as Senate Bill 1062, which was widely denounced as anti-gay. Also, concerns about its scorching summer temperatures were cited by some as a challenge that city boosters must overcome.