Chicago Unveils Bid to Host 2024 Democratic National Convention

Chicago unveiled its pitch to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention Tuesday morning, releasing a slickly produced video narrated by favorite son Common that showcases Chicago as the “heartland of Democracy” and the best place to launch the party’s pitch to voters.

Chicago is one of at least seven cities to be asked by the Democratic National Committee to bid for the convention to be held in the summer of 2024, officials said. 

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Illinois’ top Democrats joined forces with labor and business leaders to announce the bid, with Gov. J.B. Pritzker saying the convention would infuse $150 million into Illinois’ economy and boost Chicago’s flagging tourism and hospitality industries, which have been slow to recover amid the lingering COVID-19 pandemic.

A convention hosted in Chicago would “invite the nation to explore the Land of Lincoln and Obama,” Pritzker said in a statement.

“Chicago has a track record of successfully hosting premier, world-class events like the Democratic National Convention with pride, dedication and hospitality,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement. “Hosting the 2024 Democratic National Convention in Chicago will create tremendous opportunities for job creation and business growth, and I am excited for the chance to show the world why Chicago is an important global city and the epicenter of the Midwest.”

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, who is the vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee, said Chicago embodies the case Democrats plan to make to voters across the nation. 

“Chicago is a vibrant and diverse metropolis right in the heart of the Midwest, and there is no city that is more representative of the diversity of our nation and the way the policies of our city and state deliver for American families,” Duckworth said in a statement.

A deeply blue city in the center of an increasingly red Midwest could give Democrats a chance to reach voters in nearby swing states like Michigan and Wisconsin, both of which proved crucial in President Joe Biden’s victory over former President Donald Trump in 2020.

A native of Avalon Park, Common’s ode to his hometown makes that argument in living color, backed by a funky bass line that pays homage to the city’s musical legacy.

The video does not skimp on the traditional and required shots of the city’s skyline and lakefront while lauding the city’s “architectonic” landmarks. But that glossy image of Chicago is juxtaposed with footage from protests spurred by the police murder of George Floyd in the summer of 2020 and celebrates the city’s history of boisterous political protest.

“Suppression, oppression we’re fighting for equality, it is why we are known as the heartland of democracy,” Common raps, as an image of a newly elected President Barack Obama walking on to the stage at Grant Park in 2008 flashes on screen.

The last time Illinois was considered a swing state was 1992, when then Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton defeated President George H.W. Bush. 

The Democratic National Convention last took place in Chicago in 1996. That gave former Mayor Richard M. Daley a chance to redeem the city in the national spotlight after the police riots that erupted in Grant Park outside the Hilton Hotel on Michigan Avenue during the 1968 convention.

The 1996 convention took place in what was a brand-new United Center on the city’s West Side, jump-starting efforts to revitalize the West Loop, which is now home to trendy restaurants, hip shops and hundreds of new apartments and condominiums.

The bid has the support of Jerry Reinsdorf, the owner of the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls, and Rocky Wirtz, the owner of the Chicago Blackhawks, who share the United Center, which they said “has been continually upgraded with more than $450 million in private investment supporting state-of-the-art amenities.”

Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]

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