Chicago Will Host the 2024 Democratic National Convention

Video: Anne Caprara, chief of staff to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, joined “Chicago Tonight” to discuss the 2024 Democratic National Convention. (Produced by Andrea Guthmann)

Chicago will host the 2024 Democratic National Convention, putting the city and its leaders at the center of the national political spotlight next summer. 

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The decision comes after intense lobbying efforts from Gov. J.B. Pritzker, outgoing Mayor Lori Lightfoot, other elected officials and local labor and tourism groups. In choosing Chicago, the Democrats will host their convention in the heart of the Midwest near crucial battleground states Wisconsin and Michigan. The Republican National Convention will take place in Milwaukee. 

Chicago won out over finalists Atlanta and New York. 

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

The convention is scheduled to take place Aug. 19-22 at the United Center, following close on the heels of the annual Air and Water Show, set for Aug. 17-18 in 2024.

“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.”

In July 2022, the state’s top Democrats appeared with labor and business leaders to announce the city’s convention bid, with officials at the time saying the event would infuse $150 million into Illinois’ economy and boost Chicago’s tourism and hospitality industries. 

“I just received the call this morning from (DNC) Chair (Jaime) Harrison. I told him he made my day, my week, my month, my year,” Lightfoot said during a press event Tuesday. “Jobs, jobs, jobs is what this is about and an ability to showcase our great city on an international stage.”

Video: Chicago has hosted 25 political conventions, more than any other city. Rich Samuels takes us through some memorable moments.

The convention will provide a boost to the national profile of Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson, who will now be tasked with managing the logistics of the large-scale event.

Johnson 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.”

Expectations are high that the convention will drive tourism to the city as it continues its post-pandemic recovery, said Lynn Osmond, president and CEO of Choose Chicago. “We can’t wait for delegates from across our country to enjoy the amazing restaurants, hotels, museums, festivals and beaches that draw millions to our city every year," she said.

Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison had previously stated the party would select a city to host the convention “that represents the Democratic Party’s values: diversity, inclusion, opportunity.”

The 2020 convention where Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris accepted their nominations was largely virtual because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Next year’s event will likely give Biden and Harris the opportunity to celebrate and tell the story of why they deserve a second term in office. 

While Biden has not made a full-scale reelection campaign kickoff, he is already focused on the general election. Announced challengers for the Democratic nomination include author and spiritual adviser Marianne Williamson and anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Chicago last hosted the Democratic National Convention in 1996, when President Bill Clinton kicked off his successful campaign for a second term in office. The city also hosted the 1968 Democratic convention that is best remembered for a violent clash between police officers and protesters opposing the Vietnam War. 

WTTW News reporter Heather Cherone and the Associated Press contributed.

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