LEWISTON — Local city and Democratic officials gathered before the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston on Wednesday morning to formally announce that the Maine Democratic Convention would be hosted by the city for the first time in 25 years.

Elaine Makas, an Androscoggin County commissioner who has been active in state Democratic party politics for many years, said though she and others promoted Lewiston to the Democrats, it was the Colisee that sold the deal.

“People thought the Colisee still had a dirt parking lot,” Makas said. “When I convinced (party officials) to come down and visit, they were really impressed.”

Also speaking at the press conference were Lewiston Mayor Larry Gilbert; Chip Morrison, president of the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce; Ted Small, the Androscoggin County Democratic Committee chairman; Ed Hill, the Lewiston Democratic City Committee chairman; and Mike Cain, son of Colisee owner Jim Cain.

Morrison said the event, which is scheduled for May 21 and 22, is expected to attract about 2,000 people and could result in an economic boost of up to $1 million.

“It’s great people and great work ethic,” Gilbert said of how Lewiston attracted the convention. He encouraged Maine Republicans and Green Independents to consider holding their conventions in Lewiston.

Arden Manning, the executive director of the Maine Democratic Party, said Lewiston will be “crucial” for Democratic success in 2010.

“Lewiston is in many ways the heart of the Democratic Party in Maine,” he said in a written statement.

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