Democrats from across U.S. headed to Park City this week
Park City this week will host a national conference of state-level Democratic leaders, bringing upward of 200 people to discuss the party’s ideas for future elections.
The Association of State Democratic Chairs is scheduled to hold meetings on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The conference is headquartered at Montage Deer Valley in Empire Pass. A reception is scheduled at a Main Street gallery. Democratic National Committee officials are also expected to travel to Park City alongside the state-level Democrats.
Glenn Wright, the chairman of the Summit County Democratic Party and a state party official, expects to attend some of the sessions, saying he anticipates the discussions will focus on the Election Day results as well as party strategies for the midterm congressional elections in 2014 and the presidential contest in 2016.
"What worked and what didn’t work, and where to go in the future," Wright said.
He said he wants the group in Park City to discuss ideas to take the "enthusiasm and organization" of the presidential campaign this year into state and local politics.
"It’s vital to the long-term future of the party," Wright said, expecting an upbeat conference less than a month after President Obama was re-elected.
He said the group will spend time reviewing what is known as the 50-state strategy, which holds that campaigns are waged in each state rather than in ones selected for their political importance.
Wright said he expects there will be widespread support from the Democrats to continue the 50-state strategy, calling it critical to down-ticket campaigns. He said the Democrats in Summit County adhered to the idea during this year’s campaign when they opened an election headquarters on Bonanza Drive for federal, state and local candidates. It was the first time the local Democrats operated such a headquarters.
The Association of State Democratic Chairs, based in Washington, D.C., is tied to the Democratic National Committee. It operates on the state level in an effort to build the party’s organization.
The gathering will be held in one of the state’s most reliably Democratic places. Republican Mitt Romney took Summit County on Election Day, but the results were close in a state won by Romney in a landslide. The Democratic congressional candidate in the 1st District, Donna McAleer, won Summit County, as did the Democratic Senate candidate, Scott Howell. Both lost by wide margins elsewhere, though, and were defeated by Republican incumbents.
The conference will cap a year of high-profile events in Park City that featured some the nation’s biggest political figures. Romney last summer hosted a major gathering in Deer Valley, drawing a roster of top-level Republicans for policy talks, while Vice President Joe Biden arrived shortly afterward to raise money. Congressional candidates also spent time in the Park City area either campaigning or raising money.
Wright said this week’s conference will again put Park City on the Democratic political map.
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The County Council doled out grants supporting ventures ranging from discounting plane tickets to supporting a classical music festival.