Democratic National Convention: Illinois delegates prepare for virtual DNC, after Wisconsin event postponed

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Democratic National Convention, originally slated to take place in Milwaukee, officially kicks off Monday -- virtually.

"I was surprised when the UPS man came to the door and I said, 'oh my God, did I order something else?' But no, I didn't order these," said U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Matteson.

These boxes are delivering up excitement for an unconventional convention. They're arriving at the homes of Illinois delegates, who will be attending this meet-up virtually instead of in-person.

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Typically called swag bags, they are full of promotional products with democratic-themed messages. This haul, which has the typical fare of buttons, coffee mugs and posters is also stocked with COVID-19 safety items, including hand sanitizer and a face mask.

"Illinois strong mask, it came from our party. That's nice," said U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Evanston.

Kelly said despite the loss of an in-person convention, there is still plenty of excitement and aggressive plans to accomplish more serious party business.

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"People are excited for this convention, to be here, for us to get to work and do our thing until November and win the election," she said.

Illinois' 182 delegates and 13 alternates will caucus each day virtually instead of meeting up in Milwaukee as originally planned. The slogan is "Convention from Home."

Starting Monday, the Illinois party will have theme-centered programs, including "lifting up workers," "fighting for economic and racial justice" and a "call to action."

"One goal is to assure that Democrats are elected to office, whether that be Joe Biden, or whether that be Lauren Underwood, or Sean Casten or Betsy Dirksen Londrigan," said Mary Morrissey, executive director of the Democratic Party of Illinois. "We have to hold the U.S. Congress."

Despite missing out on the usual excitement of an in-person convention, delegates are hopeful that doing it virtually might actually allow more people to feel a part of the process and get excited for the ticket.
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