Milwaukee to Host 2020 Democratic National Convention

This March 7, 2018 photo shows the downtown skyline of Milwaukee. The Democratic National Committee has selected Milwaukee to host the 2020 national convention. (Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP)

MILWAUKEE (CN) – After months of speculation and campaigning, Milwaukee was officially selected Monday to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention over fellow finalist cities Houston and Miami.

The 2020 convention will be the first party convention of its magnitude in the history of Milwaukee, and will also mark the first convention to be held in the Midwest since the Democrats held their 1996 convention in Chicago.

That point was emphasized in a statement from the Democratic National Committee announcing the selection: “This is the first time the Democratic Party has held a national convention in the Midwest outside of Chicago since 1916.”

“After a decade of Republican attacks on working people, labor unions, and communities of color, Democrats saw some of their biggest gains last year in Wisconsin with the election of Governor Tony Evers, Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, and Attorney General Josh Kaul, and the re-election of Senator Tammy Baldwin,” the DNC said. “Today’s announcement signals that the party is doubling down on its winning strategy in this critical battleground state.”

Wisconsin has been a crucial and at times mercurial swing state for some time now. It was a key victory for President Donald Trump in the 2016 general election when he edged out Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton by less than one point after losing the Badger State in the Republican primary to Ted Cruz by a little over 13 points.

Governor Evers and his new administration have been battling on a local level since he was elected last November, beating out two-term Republican incumbent Scott Walker in a close contest. State Republicans called a surprise lame-duck floor session later that month, eventually passing into law three bills that reeled in and tightened various powers of the new administration, particularly targeting Evers and Attorney General Kaul. That legislation and the measures to pass it are currently the subject of multiple lawsuits working their way through Wisconsin courts.

The 2020 convention announcement comes after weeks of relatively quiet deliberation by DNC Chairman Tom Perez, whose wife is from nearby Wauwatosa. The two were married in Milwaukee and have a daughter who attends the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In a statement Monday, Perez stressed the roots of organized labor in the region.  

“This choice is a statement of our values, and I’m thrilled Milwaukee will host the 2020 Democratic National Convention,” he said. “The Democratic Party is the party of working people, and Milwaukee is a city of working people. We saw in this last election what we can accomplish when we come together, invest, and fight for working people, and that was proven right here in Wisconsin.”

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett also applauded his city’s selection.

“This is a great day for the city of Milwaukee and for the state of Wisconsin. Milwaukee is a first-class city, and we are ready to showcase Milwaukee on one of the largest stages in the world,” he said in a statement.

Mayor Barrett was on the Milwaukee bid committee along with Governor Evers, Lieutenant Governor Barnes and Senator Baldwin, in addition to Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, Congresswoman Gwen Moore and Milwaukee Bucks Senior Vice President Alex Lasry.

Fiserv Forum, the newly minted home of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks currently in its first season in existence, will serve as the centerpiece of the event, which will be held July 13-16, 2020.

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