On August 25, the delegates of the Democratic Party will descend on Denver to nominate formally — finally! — its candidate for President of the United States. The Republicans will gather a week later in St. Paul, Minnesota. Both parties chose states that will be crucial battlegrounds in November — and that they narrowly lost four years ago. No matter the outcome on Election Day, the real winners come convention time will be the two cities, which will enjoy endless media coverage and upward of $150 million apiece in economic benefits. Here's a primer on this year's happy hosts.
|11.7 million||ANNUAL VISITORS||13.8 million*|
|5,280 feet||ELEVATION||770 feet|
|$41,767||MEDIAN HOUSE-HOLD INCOME||$38,744|
|The Mile-High City||CIVIC NICKNAME||The Saintly City|
|Qwest, Molson Coors, Quiznos||COMPANY HEADQUARTERS||Travelers, 3M, Ecolab, Securian Financial Group|
|The Daniel Libeskind — designed Frederic C. Hamilton building at the Denver Art Museum||CULTURAL DRAW||Minneapolis. Kidding! The historic Landmark Center is a St. Paul arts hub.|
|The largest urban park system in the nation boasts 205 parks within city limits.||COMMUNE WITH NATURE||St. Paul has more Mississippi River shoreline than any other city.|
|Karl Rove, Tim Allen||FAVORITE SONS||F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charles M. Schulz|
|Brews more beer than any other American city||CLAIM TO FAME||America's biggest publisher of calendars and law books|
|The Pepsi Center, home to the NBA's Denver Nuggets and the NHL's Colorado Avalanche||CONVENTION VENUE||The Xcel Energy Center, home to the Minnesota Wild (NHL) and the Minnesota Swarm of pro lacrosse|
|At the 1908 convention in Denver, William Jennings Bryan was chosen as the Democratic presidential candidate. He lost decisively to Republican William Howard Taft on Election Day.||CONVENTION HISTORY||None, but neighboring Minneapolis hosted the 1892 convention. Benjamin Harrison was nominated for reelection. He then lost to Democrat Grover Cleveland, the only President to win nonconsecutive terms.|
A version of this article appeared in the July/August 2008 issue of Fast Company magazine.