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Charlotte cites $163 million economic boost from Democratic convention

Charlotte city leaders have announced that last year’s Democratic National Convention produced an economic impact of $163.6 million, with $91 million in direct spending.

Officials hired a private firm to compile the numbers, and the results are scheduled to be made public during an afternoon news conference.

Estimates before the event were that 35,000 visitors would come to Charlotte, and that it would provide a $200 million boost to the local economy.

Who is on the hook for the DNC debt?

It’s been exactly two months since the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. The delegates are long gone, but there’s still about $10 million in debt and unpaid obligations incurred by the Charlotte in 2012 host committee.

The biggest bill to pay: A loan of $7.9 million against a line of credit guaranteed by Duke Energy. So will Charlotte’s host committee pay off the loan? Or will Duke shareholders be on the hook for it?

DNC host fundraisers fell $12.5 million short

The Charlotte host committee raising money for the Democratic National Convention came up about $12.5 million short of its goal, committee leaders said Wednesday, the day they were to file financial documents with the Federal Election Commission.

The committee was obligated to come up with $36.6 million to fund the convention proceedings. For the first time, the Democratic party imposed restrictions on where the money could come from, barring contributions from corporations and lobbyists.

Through cost-cutting, the host committee was able to get the convention budget down to $31.3 million, according to host committee CEO Dan Murrey. But fundraisers were only able to bring in $24.1 million, in cash and in-kind contributions.

Waiting for Obama? Don't count on it

When the threat of rain forced Democratic National Convention organizers to move President Obama's acceptance speech from Bank of America Stadium to Time Warner Cable Arena last month, 65,000 people lost a chance to see history.

Campaign officials promised to try to arrange an event at which the president would meet with the ticket holders before the election. With less than four weeks left, time is running out. And Thursday, campaign officials wouldn't commit to a presidential visit.

"We don't have any announcements," Obama communications director Brent Colburn said in a conference call with N.C. reporters. 

Morning Roundup: Minority businesses feel slighted by DNC contract process

Most of the minority entrepreneurs polled by an advocacy group said Democratic National Convention organizers controlled who would land work and who didn’t, despite a formal bidding process.

In an email poll sent to more than 400 people, 52 percent of respondents “felt that the DNC bid/contract process was rigged,” according to the survey from the Carolina Regional Minority Partnership Coalition. Full story here.

More political headlines below.

Convention arena fee paid with corporate money

Democratic National Convention organizers paid to use the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte from an account that accepted corporate donations, reports the Charlotte Observer.

President Barack Obama told organizers not to use corporate money to for the convention.

But Dan Murrey, head of the convention host committee, told CharO reporter Tim Funk that contracts signed in early 2011 said the committee could pay the arena fee from either of two funds, one that accepted corporate money or one that didn't.

All the big convention speeches were given from the arena. It cost $5 million to use.

Morning Roundup: Candidates rhetoric in governor's race intensifies

Saying “there’s no more important governor’s race in the America,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie touted fellow Republican Pat McCrory and bashed his opponent Thursday at a rally. Christie joined McCrory in front of around 250 people at Catawba College, McCrory’s alma mater.

The visit underscores the GOP investment in the North Carolina race. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley also are expected to campaign with McCrory in coming weeks. Read full story.

More political headlines:

--Democratic gubernatorial candidate Walter Dalton sharply escalated criticism of his Republican opponent, Pat McCrory, on Thursday, portraying him as beholden to special interests, against public schools and likely to target state workers.

--Charlotte’s host committee paid for one of the biggest Democratic convention expenses – $5 million for use of Time Warner Cable Arena – from a fund that accepted cash from corporations, even though President Barack Obama had instructed convention organizers to not use business money for the actual convention.

Morning Roundup: TV ads mark crucial point in governor's race

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Walter Dalton began his television advertising campaign Wednesday, in what could be a critical moment in his race against Republican Pat McCrory. Trailing McCrory in the polls and still not known by nearly half the state’s voters, Dalton hopes the statewide TV advertising campaign will provide his candidacy with a much needed boost.

But the fact that the sitting lieutenant governor is running his first ad in mid-September introducing himself to voters shows how far he has to go in the final eight weeks. Read more here.

More political headlines:

--Senior Republican strategist Charlie Black said Wednesday he would “love to see” his party choose Charlotte for its 2016 national convention.

Morning Roundup: President Obama says thank you to North Carolina

President Barack Obama didn't give Charlotte or North Carolina a shout out in his acceptance speech at the Democratic convention. But he signed an op-ed in today's Charlotte Observer thanking the city for its hospitality: "To everyone who helped make the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte such a rousing success, we have two simple words – thank you," it starts. Read the full Obama letter here.

More political headlines:

--After spending $56 million on a TV advertising barrage unprecedented in North Carolina political history, the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are preparing for a two-month sprint for the state’s 15 electoral votes.

Morning Roundup: Obama camp says it's not leaving North Carolina

Democrats on Monday dismissed a suggestion by the top pollster for Republican Mitt Romney that President Barack Obama’s campaign is “laying the groundwork for a stealth withdrawal” from North Carolina.

The dueling claims came four days after the Democratic convention in Charlotte – and 56 before Election Day – as both sides jockeyed for the upper hand in North Carolina, a state Politico called Monday one of nine remaining presidential battlegrounds. Read more here.

Other political headlines this morning:

--Democratic gubernatorial candidate Walter Dalton on Monday offered a jobs plan that he said avoids “rigid ideology” but includes a series of practical ideas that he said would help address North Carolina’s high unemployment rate.

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