Politicians aren’t the only ones looking for a debate-related boost when Joe Biden and Paul Ryan go toe-to-toe in Kentucky this week. All of Danville is hoping to benefit from the vice presidential debate Thursday.
Streets have been repaved, flowers planted and new signs erected around the central Kentucky town of about 16,000. One bar is prepping cocktails named for Ryan and Biden while stores have stocked up on politically themed merchandise.
Business is brisk for Marty Sullivan. The owner of Thoroughbred Threads has been making tee shirts for the many convention bureau volunteers who will greet visitors.
“Recently, for example, we just got the license for UK, U of L, Eastern and Western apparel. And we’ve really only been able to touch that. But we’ll get into that more in a couple of weeks,” Sullivan said.
Centre College, the debate site, also hopes to raise its name recognition. Locals have dubbed the event the “Thrill in the ‘Ville II,” a nod to the town’s hosting of another vice presidential debate in 2000.
Centre Assistant to the President Clarence Wyatt says security is tighter this time, with an incumbent coming to town.
“We have a sitting vice-president this time. It was an open seat in 2000, so that brings its own issues regarding security. So it’s a different circumstance now. Like most everything else, it’s more complex, but like everything else, we’re very confident it’s going to work,” he said.
The legal flow of alcohol is probably the biggest change in Danville since the 2000 debate. Back then, alcohol sales were banned in town.