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Democrats eye Chicago, Atlanta, Houston and others for 2024 convention

Bids to host the Democratic Party’s next presidential nominating event are due by May 27

Tom Perez, then the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, delivers a speech at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee on Aug. 20, 2020. (Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
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Democratic leaders on Friday asked eight cities, including Chicago, Atlanta and Houston, to submit bids to host the 2024 Democratic nominating convention, according to a party official familiar with the request.

The formal call for proposals from the Democratic National Committee launches a quadrennial process that can bring nearly 5,000 delegates and as many as 45,000 other people to a host city for a four-night extravaganza, with dozens of sideline events and parties, aimed at unifying the country behind a presidential nominee.

The full list of cities eyed by Democrats has not been made public, and it could grow in the coming weeks if other municipalities express interest, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the news media. The cities will have to submit their proposals by May 27 to be considered.

“Last summer, the DNC sent out a Letter of Interest, which received a positive response. Our convention process is currently running on schedule and ahead of where we were at this point in previous cycles,” the official said in an email.

Republicans, who use a different city-selection process, have narrowed their choice of sites to Nashville and Milwaukee for 2024 and begun seeking a 2028 host city as well.

Multiday in-person nominating conventions were canceled by both parties in 2020 in response to the pandemic. Democrats had originally planned their events for Milwaukee, while Republicans had planned to gather first in Charlotte, and later in Jacksonville, Fla.

Ultimately, the Democrats staged a virtual event, broadcast from sites across the country, while Republicans had a limited gathering in Washington, with President Donald Trump delivering his nomination acceptance speech from the South Lawn of the White House.

The DNC has hired Alex Hornbrook, who oversaw the 2020 presidential primary debate process, to manage the convention site-selection process. He was director of scheduling for then-Vice President Biden and director of scheduling and advance for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Lobbying for convention site selection can be intense, with cities wining and dining party officials and promising to help raise millions of dollars for events that can be an economic boon to local businesses. Milwaukee officials, businesses and residents raised more than $40 million for the 2020 Democratic convention, only part of which took place in the city.