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Airbnb is going all out at the Democratic National Convention in an effort to win over New Yorkers

There’s a panel, a big ad buy and more.

Philadelphia Prepares To Host Democratic National Convention
A view of Philadelphia, where the Democratic National Convention will get started later on Monday
Drew Angerer / Getty

Airbnb is currently having some trouble in New York. Lawmakers there have recently put the hammer down on the home rental service in a big way.

Here’s one way Airbnb plans to fight back: The company is going to have a significant presence at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week, aiming to curry favor with Democratic political figures.

Airbnb’s DNC activities include a Tuesday panel on the sharing economy and a “five-figure ad buy” in Philadelphia to “bring Airbnb’s message from New York to the convention,” according to people familiar with the matter.

The ad buy comprises broadcast and cable TV ads and an LED truck running advertisements throughout the week. It’s a similar campaign to the one Airbnb has pushed in Chicago, where the company recently notched a political victory.

Sitting on tomorrow’s sharing economy panel will be Airbnb’s top policy guy and ex-Clinton White House adviser Chris Lehane, in addition to Uber adviser and former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe.

Airbnb has close ties to Democratic politics beyond Lehane. His deputies, Nick Papas and Sarah Bianchi, previously worked for the Obama White House. Other policy staffers at Airbnb have center-left ties as well, including Christopher Nulty (ex-SEIU), Clark Stevens (ex-Obama) and Michael O’Neil (also ex-Obama).

Perhaps most curiously, Airbnb’s New York public policy lead Josh Meltzer used to work in the office of Eric Schneiderman, the New York State Attorney General. Schneiderman is one of Airbnb’s most well-known and vocal opponents.

(Update: As an astute reader pointed out, former Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder recently joined an outside panel of experts commissioned by Airbnb to revamp the company’s anti-discrimination policy.)

While Airbnb might have a big advantage with the party establishment, further left-wing Democratic figures are less sanguine about the company and the sharing economy. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, for instance, recently called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether home-sharing platforms like Airbnb negatively affect housing supply.

Beyond the panel, Airbnb also plans to host an event with BET “honoring members of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party” for the 52nd anniversary of the MFDP’s “historic challenge to the all-white, anti-civil rights Mississippi delegation to the 1964 Democratic National Convention.”

Bryan Cranston, who stars in a new HBO movie about Lyndon Johnson (“All The Way”), will be participating in the festivities.

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