Commuting from Philly’s western suburbs is never easy, even for people who live there. But what if you’re from Oklahoma or Alabama? Or, say, American Samoa?
That’s where those DNC delegates are posting up for the week. Luckily for them, the Democratic National Convention Committee chartered buses, so they won’t have attempt to navigate a traffic-snarled Schuylkill Expressway on their own, or deal with the clogged-up Regional Rail situation.
But some of the delegates are even luckier, because they were allocated plumb rooms right smack in the middle of Center City. California folks might be good at dealing with highway traffic, but they won’t need to, since they can practically roll out of bed and into meetings at the Convention Center, with plenty of time for a stop at Reading Terminal Market for breakfast on the way.
Who made the decisions on which delegates get to stay where? The DNCC.
Via an online form set up last year, each delegation ranked the hotels they’d like to stay at in order of preference. With that information in hand, the Host Committee worked out the rest of the details. In Dec. 2015, the assignments were announced. Because logistics are tricky and there’s only so much room, only 65 percent ended up at a hotel that was one of their top three choices — which means that at least 20 states or territories did not. And six delegations didn’t even get one of their top five.
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The details on who originally wanted to stay where hasn’t been made public, so we don’t know if the Indiana delegation had some emotional connection with Plymouth Meeting, or the Oklahoma delegation heard so many great things about Appalachian Brewing that they begged to be put up in Collegeville. Did having a Wawa right across the road thrill the Puerto Rican delegation so wildly that they decided on the Desmond Hotel in Malvern — where the 30-minute trip to Center City often stretches to over an hour during rush hour?
Some Delaware folks are also staying at the Desmond, although it’s the only state that seems to have been split into two. Delawareans not relegated to the west edge of the Main Line get to hang at the Inn at Penn in University City, which is much closer to the action. Maryland and Wyoming are at the same UCity hotel.
Several venues are putting up multiple delegations at once, like the DoubleTree in King of Prussia, which is hosting Hawaii, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and West Virginia. At least the folks from territories American Samoa, Guam and Northern Mariana Islands have each other to hang with all the way out at the Courtyard in Lansdale.
With a whopping 237 delegates, Texas gets a hotel to itself, a Marriott — albeit the one out at the airport. That’s in contrast to Florida’s 238, who are at the Marriott Downtown. New York’s big bunch of 277 is at the centrally-located Loews, along with Virginia, and Pennsylvania’s out-of-towners are chilling at the DoubleTree on Broad.
Some Middle America states did get Center City assignments, though not at hotels of quite the same caliber as the big groups above. Montana and Wisconsin are at the Home2 Suites; Colorado, Nebraska and Nevada are at the Embassy Suites on the Ben Franklin Parkway; Illinois, Kansas and Missouri are at the Courtyard next to City Hall.
And what of New Jersey? Sorry, neighbors, it’s out to the PHL Airport Renaissance with you.