Mike Dino, a lobbyist and senior policy adviser for the Patton Boggs LLP law firm, was chosen executive director of the host committee, which is retooling after landing the convention last month.
Debbie Willhite, who was executive director while the committee worked to bring the convention to Denver, said last week she planned to leave to make room for a "heavy-duty" fundraiser.
Local organizers will have to raise $55 million toward the convention's total budget of $80 million. The federal government will contribute the other $25 million for security.
Denver officials have said they have commitments for $25 million toward the local share.
Denver Councilwoman Elbra Wedgeworth, president of the host committee, and committee co-chairman Steve Farber said Dino should help ensure a smooth convention.
"You have somebody who understands the political landscape in Colorado as well as nationally," Farber said.
"Mike has a good sense of the community. That's going to be key to make sure that operationally things work. That's the job of the executive director, to manage people and make sure this convention comes out without any problems."
Farber said the committee hopes to hire a finance director later this week to oversee efforts to raise about $55 million for the August 2008 event.
Dino was a campaign adviser to Gov. Bill Ritter and Rep. Ed Perlmutter, who were elected in November to open seats that had been held by Republicans. Dino was a senior aide to former Mayor Wellington Webb and was campaign chair for the current mayor, John Hickenlooper.
Dino did not immediately return a call.
While he worked for Webb, Dino served as executive director of the 1997 Summit of the Eight task force, managing a $4 million budget and activities for the meeting of leaders of industrialized nations. He also advised Webb on the completion of Denver International Airport, which opened in 1995.
The Aug. 25-28, 2008, convention is expected to attract 35,000 people, including 4,950 delegates and alternates.
"I'm looking forward to (Dino's) leadership on this huge event because it's the largest in the history of our city," Wedgeworth said.
Farber has said organizers hope to raise up to $15 million from other Western states, saying they stand to share political and economic benefits with Denver, including a possible increase in tourism spurred by the media coverage.
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