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Springs: Democrat Central? 

For the first time in recent years, perhaps ever, two cities are battling to host the state's Democratic convention.

And, in another could-this-really-be-happening? twist, historic Republican stronghold Colorado Springs is one of the cities.

The other is Broomfield, and the two are waging head-to-head campaigns to woo state Democrats' 11-member selection committee. This weekend, blue-party members will journey to both places to decide which site should prove best for their candidates in 2008.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars would be pumped into the winning city's economy during the May convention, just three months prior to Denver's Democratic National Convention.

Both counties boast more Republicans and unaffiliated voters than registered Democrats, which accounts for some of the intrigue among party leaders.

"We have to be competing in El Paso County if we want to be a statewide party," says Dan Slater, the selection committee's chairman, who would cast the deciding vote in the event of a tie. "We also have to be competing in Broomfield."

The committee will compare the Broomfield Event Center, with about 7,500 seats for special events, to the World Arena, which has 7,343 fixed seats. The latter served as site of the state Republican convention last year. The committee will also look at each area's hotel facilities.

El Paso County Democratic Party chairman John Morris notes that by sheer numbers, his county harbors the state's second-largest Democratic population. And, he notes, Democrats have made gains here recently, such as with the election of state Sen. John Morse.

"Colorado Springs is not a black hole of conservatism," Morris says. He adds, "If you select El Paso County, it stirs things up."

Broomfield Democrats could not be reached by press time.

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