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Mayor: Convention could help Democrats carry Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A top Democratic official touring Ohio's capital city gave little feedback Thursday on how she felt about the city's potential to host the party's 2016 presidential convention other than making one assessment: The ice cream is good.

Asked what surprised her most about the city, chief executive officer of the Democratic National Committee Amy Dacey said her love for locally made Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams.

``I didn't know that before I got here, but I am addicted to salted caramel,'' Dacey told news reporters.

Logistics and financing for the event will outweigh the dessert in the party's decision making, but Dacey did not have much to say on how the city measured up.

``It's too early in the process really to comment on that,'' she said at a news conference in Columbus, where she was joined by state and city leaders.

Dacey was among the DNC's technical advisory group on a two-day site visit to the city. The group got a driving tour of Columbus and saw its convention center, Nationwide Arena, science museum and other locations key to the city's bid. They also met with business and labor groups, as well as progressive leaders.

The stop was part of the party's evaluation process that includes trips to each of the five cities still under consideration for the Democratic convention. The others are Birmingham, Alabama; Philadelphia; Phoenix; and New York City's Brooklyn.

The DNC is expected to choose a host city late this year or early in 2015.

Columbus is the only Ohio contender after Cleveland dropped its bid last month, having won the backing of a Republican National Committee panel to host that convention in 2016.

Dacey would only say she would take the GOP's decision into account in assessing all five locations.

Ohio has gone with the winning presidential candidate in every election after John F. Kennedy reached the White House without carrying Ohio in 1960; no Republican has ever taken the White House without the state.

Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman said the Ohio capital has the facilities, abilities and politics to host the Democratic Party's presidential convention.

``We are able to help deliver Ohio,'' he said. ``I think Democrats could still win Ohio without being in Columbus. However, it certainly does help when they have a convention of this size in the state of Ohio in the city of Columbus.''

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