LEWISTON — The Maine State Democratic Party has scheduled its state convention for May 21 and 22 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, according to two sources familiar with the party’s decision.

Both individuals spoke to the Sun Journal on background because the official announcement is scheduled for a news conference at the Colisee on Wednesday morning with local Democratic and city officials.

The last time the Maine Democrats held a convention in Lewiston was 1984. The past two conventions, which are held every other year, took place in Augusta. Conventions in non-presidential election years typically attract between 1,500 to 2,000 people, one source said.

“It is very exciting,” said Chip Morrison, president of the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce. “It’ll have a huge impact. A good number of them will be staying locally and all of them will be eating locally.”

The Maine Democratic Party selected Lewiston based on information provided during a statewide competitive bidding process, a source said.

Morrison said the event will give Lewiston the chance to show off the improvements the city has made since the last convention.

“All I can tell you is, I was here 25 years ago and this place is different — it is much better,” he said. “Many times you’ll run into people who think we are what we were 25 years ago and we are not, we are much, much better.”

The event will offer Democratic gubernatorial candidates a chance to speak directly to the party base just a few weeks before the June primary election. State party conventions also typically feature speeches from congressional candidates, a re-evaluation of the party platform and other party business.

There are currently four Democratic candidates who have officially announced their intent to run for the governor’s office in 2010, which is being vacated by two-term Gov. John Baldacci who is barred from running for re-election due to term limits. Two of the candidates, Steve Rowe and Rosa Scarcelli, are from Portland, Donna Dion is from Biddeford and Dawn Hill is from Cape Neddick.

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