DNC seeks 2024 host city, Milwaukee urged to once again apply

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) invites Milwaukee to once again make a bid to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention.

The letter sent to Milwaukee, acquired by FOX6 News, says it’s a "first step" in what is a long bid process.

A DNC spokesperson says letters like the one below were sent to more than 20 cities.

In the letter to cities like Milwaukee, DNC Chair Jamie Harrison writes, "We are beginning the site selection process earlier this cycle and would like to invite you to consider hosting the 2024 Democratic National Convention. This will be a historic event that can help shape the future of your city for decades to come. Hosting a national convention can be a great economic boon for any city. Past convention host cities have enjoyed an economic impact of approximately $150 million to $200 million. With over 35,000 delegates, honored guests, and members of the press in attendance, the Democratic National Convention can be an enormous opportunity to showcase your city as a world-class destination."

That was what Milwaukee was looking forward to in 2020. The DNC picked Milwaukee over other finalists Houston and Miami to host that convention. The city expected to host tens of thousands of people, and with all of those people, the region looked forward to seeing an estimated cash infusion of $200 million.  Due to the pandemic, the Democrats moved their convention to mostly virtually – and Milwaukee did not receive the full financial benefit it expected from the convention. Instead, the city still hosted a few speakers and the control room for the nightly broadcasts. However, Democratic nominees Joe Biden and Kamala Harris offered their nomination acceptance speeches in Biden’s home state of Delaware, where crowds gathered.

This time around, Harrison said, "…we are open to exploring new approaches and are continuing to rethink the best way to hold our next convention as well."

Gary Witt, the CEO of the Pabst Theater Group, said for the committee to even consider other cities sends a clear message. 

"I think it sends an incredibly negative, and very impactful, message to the rest of the country if they’re willing to throw away hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in effort to be able to put on the DNC in order to simply be wooed by another city and move it there," Witt said. "I mean what kind of fiscal responsibility does the Democratic Party have if they’re actually willing to give up that much of an investment in the money that has been put towards holding a convention in the City of Milwaukee."

While the committee makes its decision, Witt thinks the city should capitalize on the national spotlight from the other week,

"The Bucks just lead the way for you. They just opened the doors to Milwaukee to be introduced, to shake hands, and give a giant Milwaukee beer-filled and beer-swigged hug to everybody across the country. We should be working incredibly hard right now to get through that door and make sure that we get any many conventions, as many visitors, to come to the City of Milwaukee as possible based on what the Bucks have done."

Could Milwaukee get another chance to host the Democratic National Convention in 2024? In an April interview with FOX6, DNC Chair Jamie Harrison said he was open to the idea.

"Given the circumstances of what happened in Wisconsin, we’ll definitely keep that in consideration when we’re making that decision," Harrison said.

Does that mean the committee would favor allowing Milwaukee to have a rain check for the 2024 convention?

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"I was part of the site visit team the last convention cycle, and so I got the chance to spend a lot of time in Milwaukee, looking at your facilities," said Harrison in April. "I was heartbroken that we weren’t able to come and enjoy the great state of Wisconsin with all of the Democrats across the country. We will be examining our convention site -- location and all -- in the coming months. We haven’t made up a decision yet. We’ll probably have a site convention visit team, again. Wisconsin, we understand the heartbreak from that, and we’ll keep that in consideration when we chose the site of the 2024 convention."

For the 2024 DNC bid process, cities need to respond to Harrison in writing by October 1, 2021. Based on the timeline for the 2020 selection process, final decisions for 2024 can be expected in the spring of 2023.

Reaction

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett

"Based on its designation of Milwaukee as the 2020 convention host, the Democratic National Committee certainly has a positive impression of our city. I appreciate the invitation they’ve extended, and I will answer that Milwaukee remains interested in being a national political convention site. The formal process of assembling a bid for the 2024 Democratic National Convention requires quite a number of partners here in Milwaukee, and I will be consulting with those partners as we make decisions about moving forward."

RNC Spokesperson Preya Samsundar

"After pulling the greatest trick since Houdini by making Joe Biden disappear from Wisconsin in 2020, we sincerely hope the DNC remembers to finish the act by making him appear in the Badger State come 2024."

Executive Board of the Democratic Party of Milwaukee County

"Today we learned that Milwaukee is one of 20+ cities being asked to apply for the 2024 Democratic National Convention. Hosting the DNC is no small feat, and this massive honor boosts a city both politically and economically. Despite the fact that Milwaukee ‘hosted’ in 2020, we missed out on the critical time to shine on the national stage. 

"Milwaukee was able to not only persist and succeed in a virtual environment, but overcome history and flip Wisconsin back to blue in 2020 and deliver the election for President Joe Biden. Since then, our city brought home an NBA Championship (#BucksInSix), we’ve spent every day helping Gov. Evers protect his veto, and we will oust Ron Johnson in 2022 and defend Sen. Baldwin in 2024. 

"We should not have to make the case for why Milwaukee would be an excellent location for the DNC in 2024 -- we already did that just a few years ago. Instead, we simply ask the selection committee to follow the precedent of so many other postponed events and follow through on your national commitment to our state. 

"Milwaukee welcomes you back, and we urge you to choose our city quickly so we can get back to work electing Democrats up-and-down the ticket and planning the best convention possible."

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