April 12, 2023

How Chicago Landed the 2024 Democratic National Convention

The convention is scheduled to take place Aug. 19-22, 2024, at the United Center.

Source: NBC Chicago


It's an event nearly 30 years in the making: After hosting the Democratic National Convention in 1996, the event will return to the city of Chicago in 2024, officials on Tuesday confirmed.

"The DNC is returning to the Midwest," a news release from the Democratic National Committee read. "A critical Democratic stronghold: Illinois along with Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota – part of the “blue wall” – were crucial to the 2020 victory of President Biden and Vice President Harris and to Democrats’ success in the 2022 midterm elections."

The convention marks the second consecutive DNC held in a Midwestern city, as 2020's convention was held in Milwaukee. However, the onset of the COVID pandemic forced the event to be largely downsized, as many of the events and presentations were held virtually.

In August of last year, Milwaukee was also selected to host the 2024 Republican National Convention in July, bringing the rivaling full-fledged political convention less than 100 miles north of Chicago.

“We look forward to the DNC’s convention where their radical agenda will be on full display for the world to see. Voters will soundly reject whichever out-of-touch liberal the Democrats nominate in Chicago and instead elect our Republican nominee as the next President of the United States," Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement.

At 2 p.m. Wednesday, DNC Chairman Jaime Harrison along with Governor J.B. Pritzker, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Mayor-Elect Brandon Johnson will host a press conference at the Shedd Aquarium to discuss and celebrate the selection of Chicago to host the event.

NBC 5 will live stream the update in the player above once it begins.

According to Duckworth, bringing the convention to Chicago was something "the group worked very hard for."

"We've been working on this for well over 18 months," Duckworth told NBC 5. "I had this idea, picked up the phone and called Rep. Dick Durbin and said 'Hey want about this?'"

Duckworth said that Chicago's "union labor advantage, hotel capacity” and the city's location played key roles in its selection over other cities.

“We’re right in the middle of the battleground states," Duckworth added. “The Midwest is key to a victory in 2024, and there is no city better positioned to reach those voters than Chicago."

According to the committee officials, Chicago was supported by a "wide range of midwestern Democrats who represent the diversity of the party." Officials said the city was selected "at the conclusion of a rigorous site selection process," led by the DNC Director of Convention Planning as well as a Technical Advisory Group of veterans who "worked several cycles of conventions and are experts in the areas of housing, transportation, infrastructure, security, accessibility, and arena and production logistics."

Committee officials added that the group traveled to Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, and New York, and "entered into contract negotiations with a final set of cities before selecting Chicago as the host to the 2024 Democratic National Convention."

“Chicago is a great choice to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention,” said President Joe Biden. “Democrats will gather to showcase our historic progress including building an economy from the middle out and bottom up, not from the top down."

Last year, officials announced a bid to bring the convention to Chicago. The video announcement was accompanied by endorsements from top Illinois Democrats, including Pritzker and Lightfoot.

“The 2024 Democratic National Convention in Chicago will welcome people from across the nation to an unforgettable event highlighting our party’s vision for lifting up working families and those who too often have been left out and left behind,” Pritzker said in a statement. “Our great global city and its diverse communities, unparalleled hospitality, and world renowned venues shows off the best of America and its people represent the heart of our country.”

Lightfoot said the convention will create "once-in-a-generation opportunities for job creation and business growth here in our city." Meanwhile, Mayor-elect Johnson, who will be in office at the time of the event, said he looks forward to working with the DNC "to facilitate a spectacular convention that showcases Chicago's diverse culture, our beautiful lakefront, our renowned hospitality sector, and our best asset: our amazing people."

According to a report from the Chicago Sun-Times, Pritzker told the Sun-Times he spoke with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz to thank them for their “representation” of the “Blue Wall” of the Midwest.

Pritzker also spoke with Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens — and left a message for Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear. The governor acknowledged, “there are lots more calls to make.”

The convention is scheduled to take place Aug. 19-22, 2024, at the United Center.

By:  NBC 5 Staff