Chicago area Democrats, DNC officials meet in West Loop as city bids for national convention

BySarah Schulte and Stephanie Wade via WLS logo
Wednesday, July 27, 2022
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Governor JB Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot are pitching Chicago to the Democratic National Committee for its 2024 convention.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- From the Soul Children Choir to the Jesse White Tumbler, it's all about selling Chicago to the Democratic National Committee to host its 2024 convention.

"We are looking for a city that represents the democratic values of diversity, inclusion and opportunity," said DNC Chairman Jamie Harrison.

Harrison said Democrats are also looking for a turnkey city, one that will not present any logical issues for delegates or the press.

SEE MORE: Chicago considers bid for 2024 Democratic National Convention

"I don't want people going out to the hinterlands trying to find their hotel, right? We need them to all be there. We don't need to have big traffic confusion and I need it all to work," Harrison said.

Chicago is competing against New York City, Houston and Atlanta. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Chicago is the only choice, not only because of its diversity, but because the city hosts several large-scale events each year. The last time Chicago hosted the Democratic Convention was in 1996 at the United Center.

"The convention sparked the development around the United Center, leading to restaurants, shops and residences," Lightfoot said.

Lightfoot said she expects a convention to generate $150-$200 million into the local economy. It will also bring thousands of union jobs. Democrats said they believe a labor-friendly city and state also makes Chicago attractive to the DNC. But what may be a strike is division within the Illinois Democratic Party.

"Any division doesn't help, but hopefully, we can rise above it because we are united on this," said Illinois Democratic Party Chair U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly.

Kelly is hoping to hang on to her post as chair, but Governor JB Pritzker is not supporting Kelly. He backs state Rep. Lisa Hernandez. The election is on Saturday.

"We will also rally around the Democratic Party if Illinois for the next four years around that chair to make sure we get what we need which is elect Democrats up and down the ballot," Pritzker said.

Harrison said he is focusing on the convention, not Illinois political infighting. The DNC will makes its final decision in September.

Meanwhile, Republicans may hold their convention a short time distance away in Milwaukee.