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Democrats Ponder Convention Dates

May 30, 2002

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ After floating the idea of going head-to-head with the Republicans’ presidential nominating convention in 2004, the Democrats said Wednesday they were considering other alternatives as well.

In a letter to the mayors of prospective convention cities, Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said the party is actively considering the weeks of July 19 and July 26 as well as Aug. 2, Aug. 30 and Sept. 6.

The GOP plans to open its convention Aug. 30.

McAuliffe listed the range of dates in a letter to mayors of Detroit, Boston, New York and Miami, which are under consideration for staging the convention.

DNC spokeswoman Maria Cardona said the convention date will be decided after a city is chosen in the fall.

The DNC has had internal differences in recent weeks over the what strategy to use in selecting a date for the convention. One factions wants it to be held before the Republicans’ gathering, to avoid competition for news coverage. Another, worried about money and momentum, wants the Democrats to meet during the GOP convention, which would set up head-to-head competition to make news.

Democrats initially expected Republicans would have their convention in late July or early August. The simultaneous conventions idea arose when Republicans announced they would convene in late summer.

Both parties are conscious of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Greece, which will start Aug. 13, run just over two weeks and distract public attention from politics.

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