Democratic National Convention

Cleveland Picked over Dallas for 2016 GOP Convention

It appears the 2016 Republican National Convention will take place in Cleveland. According to the Associated Press, a Republican National Committee panel is recommending Cleveland. The full 168-member RNC is expected to ratify the choice next month.

Finances were a key part of the decision-making process. The previous two GOP conventions have been extremely expensive for the party during election years. GOP Chairman Reince Priebus insisted the host city not leave the party picking up the tab, estimated at about $60 million.

Of course, Ohio has been a swing state in recent years, while Texas has been a solid “red” state for the past two decades.

Democrats have not yet decided where their 2016 convention will be held.

Colorful characters crowd Charlotte streets outside convention

It’s a festive scene outside the Time Warner Cable Arena here in Charlotte. Thousands of delegates, Obama supporters and vendors crowd the streets before and after each day’s convention session.

It’s vastly different than the vibe outside Republicans’ convention in Tampa, where the streets were mostly deserted during non-convention times. Being in both cities, we did notice that the security perimeter may have played a part in the crowd control. The zone in Tampa stretched several blocks around the Tampa Bay Times Forum, and popular hot-spots like the CNN Grill were hidden within. Here in Charlotte, security is set up closer to the arena, and CNN and MSNBC’s set-ups are highly visible in the Uptown Epicenter, visible to anyone walking by.

In both cities, delegates could be seen wearing their support for their candidates on their sleeves. While the Republicans opted for matching shirts and hats identifying their delegations, the Democrats are much less uniform; but certainly no less spirited.

Below is a slideshow from the sights outside the arena, today:

State Sen. Rodney Ellis talks current strategy of the Democratic Party

State Senator Rodney Ellis stopped by our Capital Tonight set at the Democratic National Convention to talk about the current strategy of the Democratic Party.

Watch the entire interview in the video above.

State Rep. Mark Strama talks inspiration and early days in politics

State Representative Mark Strama sat down with YNN’s Paul Brown to discuss his inspiration in politics and what led him into the world of public service.

Watch the entire interview in the video below.

Michelle Obama shares message with DNCC caucuses

First Lady Michelle Obama is riding a wave of popular support in Charlotte, following what most are calling a home run speech last night.

There wasn’t much time for the delegates’ excitement to wear off. Hundreds lined up at the Charlotte Convention Center for a second opportunity to see the First Lady in person. She attended both the Black and Hispanic caucus meetings.

Mrs. Obama followed up on many of the themes from her prime time address. She touted her husband’s stance on health care reform, women’s rights, the auto industry and small business.

Perhaps more than anything, though, Obama stressed the importance of getting out the vote in swing states; and urged those who don’t live in swing states to visit some. Fundraising is also of upmost importance. She told the Hispanic caucus, "If you can afford to write a check, then write a check. If you’ve written a check and you haven’t maxed out, max out."

Supporters we spoke with said not only do they adore President Obama’s policies, but they have a special affinity for the first lady. "She’s flawless, and she represents everybody in America," said delegate Janice Flemons. "She a mom, she’s a wife, she’s professional, she went to college. She is everything."

Below is a slideshow of Michelle Obama’s Democratic National Convention address, as well as her appearance at the Hispanic caucus, Wednesday.

Houston Mayor praises gay marriage platform

The first openly gay mayor of a major U.S. city, Annise Parker of Houston, is celebrating the Democratic party platform which formally recognizes marriage equality for the first time.

Mayor Parker sat down with Paul Brown to discuss the platform change and why so many Texas Mayors are Democrats, despite the Republican hold on the state.

Sen. Van de Putte talks Obama’s chances, school vouchers at DNC

"Capital Tonight’s" Paul Brown sat down with Texas Senator Leticia Van de Putte in Charlotte, Tuesday, at the Time Warner Cable Arena. Sen. Van de Putte is taking a more relaxed role during this year’s convention, after co-chairing the DNC in 2008. Watch the video below to hear the senator talk about her experience in Charlotte, plus, her take on the fight over education funding which is on the horizon for the Texas legislature.

Texas dems residing in rustic water park resort

Much like their Republican counterparts, the Texas delegation at the Democratic National Convention is housed at a resort far from the convention location.

While Texas republicans enjoyed a luxury spa retreat, the democrats are staying at a Concord, NC lodge style resort, complete with an indoor water park. They’re staying at the Great Wolf Lodge, about half an hour north of Uptown Charlotte. The loge is guarded by two giant wolves, outside. Inside, meanwhile, red, white and blue banners and balloons hang from the log walls and antler-chandeliers, right along side huge fire places and likenesses (we think!) of stuffed bears and wolves.

Click below for some photos from the delegates’ hotel:

Hinojosa: Texas is more than a ‘donor state’

Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa believes the state can turn blue again, and he’s banking the Latino population can achieve that goal.

"Texas should not only be a donor state where people come and take money, but rather it should be a state that has a real possibility to turn blue for the Democratic party. A little bit of lovin,’ as I say, to the Texas Democratic Party, will result in big gains nationally for our Democratic party," Hinojosa told Paul Brown during "Capital Tonight," Monday.

Watch the video below to hear more from Hinojosa, including a look-ahead to Mayor Julian Castro’s keynote address.

Mayor Julián Castro to keynote Democratic National Convention

In the same fashion which catapulted President Obama to national prominence in 2004, Mayor Julián Castro will deliver this year’s keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in September. Castro will be the first Latino keynote speaker at the DNC.

"Two conventions ago, the keynote speaker was a guy named Barack Obama. I remember watching his speech in 2004 and being inspired," Castro said in his announcement video.

At 37 years old, Castro is the youngest mayor of a Top 50 American city. His twin brother, Joaquin, is a state rep and is running for Congress in San Antonio. He keynoted the Texas Democratic convention in June and was a guest in First Lady Michelle Obama’s box at the State of the Union earlier this year.

"Julián Castro has worked tirelessly to move San Antonio forward by building its economy from the middle out, not the top down, by putting the city on a path to being a leader in the new energy economy and making innovative investments in education to prepare San Antonio’s students for the jobs of the future,” Democratic Convention Chair, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said on the DNC website. “That’s the same vision forward for the middle class the President has.”

The Democratic National Convention starts Sept. 4 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

You can watch Castro’s announcement video below.