News & Politics

At the Democratic National Convention, the DC Delegates Are in the “Nosebleed of the Nosebleed Section”

It seems the representatives of the District aren’t exactly being given preferred seating in Charlotte this week.

A view of downtown Charlotte, where the DC delegates are not staying. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

If you were planning the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina,
where would you place the delegates from the District of Columbia? How would they
look on the national stage?

You have a city council chairman who decided to resign rather than face bank fraud
charges. And a city council member serving jail time for stealing $350,000 in public
funds meant to help poor kids. And a mayor whose campaign is under investigation for
a variety of misdeeds, from paying off another candidate to harass the incumbent to
running a “shadow campaign” with upward of $600,000 off the books.

And you have
Marion Barry. The former mayor and current council member took to the microphone Monday before
the convention even began to tell the Daily Caller that
President Obama has “not done everything I wanted him to do, but he’s done more than anyone else
has done.”

Not quite a rousing endorsement.

Would you headquarter the DC delegates in downtown Charlotte?

“They put us at the Hilton Garden Inn in Concord,” a delegate says. “We’re 20 miles
from downtown Charlotte. There’s nothing out here. The closest restaurant is a Waffle
House, and it’s a walk.”

Every morning the DC delegation, which numbers around 36, holds a breakfast and invites
a guest speaker.
Jesse Jackson was teed up for Tuesday.

“He didn’t show,” a delegate reports. “Too far away.”

Once the delegates make it to Charlotte, where do they sit in the convention hall?

“They put us as far from the podium as possible,” says another delegate. “Call it
the nosebleed of the nosebleed section. Our backs are against the wall.”

Planners have a political rationale for stashing DC’s delegates. The District is the
opposite of a battleground state. It’s as blue as any voting district in the nation.
It’s in the bag. There are no swing voters or independents to impress. Delegations
from Kansas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania get the front-row seats and the downtown hotels.

Maryland, another blue state, is in Concord, as well.

On Wednesday night, DC mayor Vincent Gray will rise to pledge the District’s 17 votes
for Barack Obama. He might have a few lines for the occasion. Perhaps he will make
a pitch for DC statehood, which didn’t make it into the platform. Perhaps we will
see him and hear what he has to say—provided the cameras have long lenses for the
back rows.