When the South Dakota delegation checks into its hotel in Charlotte, N.C., this summer for the Democratic National Convention, they might be a little envious of their Hawaiian counterparts seven miles down the road.
It’s not that the accommodations at the Comfort Inn in Charlotte aren’t perfectly lovely—the hotel’s got a AAA rating of three diamonds, after all.
But the Hawaii delegation gets to kick it with the Democratic National Committee and Obama for America at the Hilton Charlotte Center City. It's nestled in the heart of Charlotte, walking distance from the convention center and the Bank of America stadium, and has an AAA rating of four diamonds to boot.
Does Hawaii’s luck have anything to do with the fact that it’s a Democratic stronghold and the birthplace of the president? Does South Dakota’s less than prized position have anything to do with the fact that it’s gone red for the last 10 elections?
Not so, said an official with the Democratic National Convention Committee.
The DNCC released hotel assignments for the state delegations on Tuesday. Although it’s tempting to try to read the tea leaves about why D.C. is assigned to the Hilton Garden Inn in Concord, Massachusetts is at the Omni, and the Wolf Lodge is hosting--yeah, you guessed it--Montana, the process was kicked off with a lottery back in September.
At a meeting of the Association of State Democratic Chairs in Chicago, each state selected a die-cast race car—in homage to the Charlotte Motor Speedway—from a bucket, with a number pasted to the bottom of it. Vermont drew No. 1 (its delegates will be rubbing elbows with the DNC, too, at the Hilton Charlotte Center City). Georgia drew the last number (they’re at the Marriott Executive Park, about 12 minutes away from the Bank of America stadium).
In December, each state submitted its top three hotel preferences and top three area preferences out of five “zones” in and around Charlotte. Organizers said they tried to base the assignments on states' needs in terms of pricing and meeting space rather than their electoral importance or history. All five zones were requested.
No hotel is more than 20 minutes away from the epicenter of the festivities, thanks to Charlotte's bustling business center having ample rooms for the 6,000 delegates who will be flooding into the city come September.
The bad news for the visitors? Looks like no delegation scored the Ritz-Carlton.