Former Iowa Senator Tom Harkin is calling on party officials planning the next Democratic National Convention in 2020 to negotiate better hotel deals. Many hotels for this week’s convention in Philadelphia have raised rates.
“Somebody’s got to get to the site selection committee,” Harkin says. “It is criminal what they’re doing here.”
Harkin helped raise money for some of the Iowans who could not afford to pay nearly $700 a night to stay in the Iowa delegation’s hotel.
“Next time, we can’t let this happen,” says Harkin, who is a delegate at this year’s convention. “…I got a matchbox that’s 600-and-some buck a night. Look, I can afford it, but my God there’s a lot of people who come here who can’t afford that kind of money, not just from Iowa, but I’m hearing from other states, too.”
Cities hoping to host conventions for the two major political parties routinely submit bids. Harkin says the site selection committee for the 2020 convention needs to make this deal: “We may come here, but we want one gaurantee, that your hotels can charge no more per night than they normally would at that time of the year.”
Some of the Iowans in Philadelphia are using the airBnB app to stay in private Philadelphia homes. One delegate tried to book a room in a local youth hostel, but couldn’t secure a spot.
Iowa Republicans who attended their party’s national convention last week were charged about $250 a night for rooms in the suburban Cleveland hotel that had been reserved for the Iowa delegation.