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      Birmingham is one of six cities considered to host D.N.C.

      {}{}{}{}Birmingham is one of six cities vying for an opportunity to host the Democratic National Convention. Who are the competitors? New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Phoenix and Columbus, Ohio. A selecting committee will be visiting the cities in order to make a decision later this year. Among the cities considered, Birmingham is the smallest. However, its rich cultural history may be a draw, and could provide a unique backdrop for the convention.{} Some argue the convention is likely to end up in a swing state, which Alabama clearly{}is not right now.{}{}{}{}{}"Of the cities considering bids, I think Birmingham is the long-shot," said Steven Noles, a political consultant who worked on three presidential campaigns as a staffer.{}{}{}{}"More because of the facilities and that sort of thing than any political issues.{} I think politically I think Birmingham would be a master-stroke for the Democratic party. It would signal a real effort to be politically competitive in the South."{}{}{}{}Noles said Birmingham probably has enough convention space however may have trouble providing adequate airline service.{} But he feels the biggest challenge is the lack of enough first class hotels.{} Noles estimates easily 20,000 people would needed to be housed in hotel rooms. He believes Birmingham falls short. The City has about 12,000 to 15,000 rooms.{}{}{}{}{}{}Optimism is running high among city leaders though.{}{}{}{}Birmingham City Council President{}Jonathan Austin countered, "All of our hotels are first class, first of all.{} It's not just the City of Birmingham that will make this thing pull off.{} It's got to be the entire Central Alabama region." Austin also indicated the airport could carry the load.{}{}{}{}Noles said, "I would think that if you wanted to have a hotel open by the summer of 2016, you'd have to be digging dirt right now to do it.{} I'm not sure Birmingham could expand its capacity in that time."{}{}{}