Democratic convention team visits Ohio's capital

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — State and local officials in Columbus rolled out the blue carpet to show Democratic planners what Ohio's capital city has to offer, as they seek to host the political party's next presidential convention.

A technical advisory team from the Democratic National Committee arrived in Columbus on Wednesday to assess the city and see how much money has been raised to host the 2016 event.

Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman joined city leaders and Ohio Democrats to welcome the group at a rally of sign-waving supporters outside Nationwide Arena.

The planners are expected to get a driving tour of Columbus and see its convention center, science museum, hotels and other locations key to the city's bid. Additional tours and meetings are planned for Thursday.

The two-day site visit is part of an evaluation process that includes trips to each of the five cities still under consideration for the Democratic convention. The other cities are Birmingham, Philadelphia, Phoenix and New York City's Brooklyn.

Columbus is the only Ohio contender after Cleveland dropped its bid last month, having won the backing of a Republican National Committee panel to host that convention in 2016.

The DNC is expected to choose a host city late this year or early in 2015.