Speedway, BofA Stadium To Host DNC Crowds
(L to R) Concord Mayor Scott Padgett, Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (in red), Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, Democratic National Convention Committee CEO Steve Kerrigan, Charlotte resident Leah Hill. Organizers of the 2012 Democratic National Convention today announced plans to kick things off on Labor Day with a free, family festival at Charlotte Motor Speedway and end with President Barack Obama accepting his party's nomination at Bank of America stadium. The Democratic Party knows President Obama will have a tough time winning North Carolina; in 2008, his margin of victory here was less than 1 percent. So Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is salivating at the thought of more than 75,000 amped-up supporters packed together in one spot this fall. "That's why we've decided to hold the final night of the convention right here in the stadium, so that folks from across the Carolinas, our neighbors in Virginia and the South can come together to be a part of history as we re-nominate President Obama for a second term," said Wasserman Schultz at a press conference on the stadium's field. She name-drops Virginia there because it's another state the president won narrowly in 2008. In addition to room for more people, Bank of America stadium also has more luxury suites the DNC may be able to sell at a premium. Convention organizers say they're "right on track" in raising the $36.6 million they need for the event, but have yet to offer status reports. Wasserman-Schultz says fundraising was not the motive in moving the president's speech from Time Warner Cable Arena. "We knew from the start - before any money was raised, before inside-the-beltway rumors began - that a larger venue for the president's acceptance speech would help us achieve the most open and accessible convention in history," said Wasserman Schultz. "Open and accessible" is the mantra of DNC convention organizers, which would seem to conflict with their refusal to provide fundraising updates. "I don't think so, no," says Steve Kerrigan, CEO of the Democratic National Convention Committee. "We aren't taking corporate money. We aren't taking lobbyist or (Political Action Committee) money and that's the details that matter about our fundraising process." Those restrictions - established by President Obama - have made fundraising more difficult. The DNC's contract with Charlotte's host committee says all contributions will be "disclosed publicly" on its website "within an agreed upon regular timeframe." But neither the DNC, nor the host committee will say when that disclosure will begin. Kerrigan says only, "We're gonna follow the Federal Election Commission rules on disclosures." Those rules don't require fundraising reports until after the convention is over.