Chicago’s bid to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention is official.
A nearly three-minute promotional video narrated by rapper, actor, and Chicago-native Common rotates through iconic imagery from most of the city’s 77 neighborhoods, casting the city as a diverse metropolis leading the way on many of the Democratic Party’s priorities: raising the minimum wage, protecting reproductive choice, and investing in clean energy.
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said the convention “would infuse more than $150 million” into the state’s economy.
“I’m proud to invite the nation to explore the Land of Lincoln and Obama and enjoy everything from our world-class museums and theaters, to our spectacular lakefront, world renowned sports teams and award-winning restaurants,” he said in a statement.
Pritzker, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth are leading the effort to land their party’s convention, which could be the showcase for a potential re-election campaign by President Joe Biden.
Duckworth could have an influential voice in the process because she is a vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.
Illinois is not a battleground state, with a majority of voters picking a Democrat in the past eight presidential elections. It could also face competition from Milwaukee, whose leaders signaled an interest in bidding for the 2024 convention after the 2020 event went virtual amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Milwaukee is reportedly also in the running for the 2024 Republican National Convention.
In addition to a slew of Democrats supporting the effort, the leaders of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Restaurant Association, the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association, the Illinois AFL-CIO, and the Chicago Federation of Labor are also supporting the bid, according to a news release issued by spokeswoman Tarrah Cooper Wright.
The tourism boom that accompanies a convention is certain to help the city recover from two years of pandemic shut downs and restrictions. But critics have already raised the prospect that Chicago’s recent increase in crime could impact the bid. A Democratic source who spoke to WBEZ in late March downplayed that concern.
On Tuesday, Lightfoot touted Chicago’s “track record” hosting “premier, world-class events.” The last time Chicago hosted the DNC was in 1996, when Bill Clinton and Al Gore secured the party’s nomination. That year, the event was held at the United Center and although the release did not list a potential site for the event, Jerry Reinsdorf and Rocky Wirtz issued a statement of support.
“We are honored and excited to be partnering with the city of Chicago in its bid for the 2024 Democratic National Convention,” Reinsdorf and Wirtz wrote. “The arena that hosted the 1996 convention has been continually upgraded with more than $450 million in private investment supporting state-of-the-art amenities.”
According to the Washington Post, bids are due May 27.
Becky Vevea covers Chicago government and politics for WBEZ. Follow her @beckyvevea.