The convention “would build on the city’s history of successfully hosting large-scale events that draw visitors from across the country and around the world, putting class restaurants, museums, art and entertainment world of Chicago on a global stage,” the statement read. “A Chicago-based convention would also benefit from the city’s location as a central hub in the heart of the country, close to many states in the key Midwest region.”
Officials have been quietly organizing the bid for months. There is no doubt that the city has the hotels and other necessities to host a large gathering, as it did in 1996 when President Bill Clinton was reappointed here for a second term. Indeed, the hospitality industry would welcome such a gathering, which would help it recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
But it takes work. On the one hand, a welcoming committee must be formed and raise tens of millions of dollars, so Chicago business leaders should expect to be hit with financial commitments soon. And if the city is to win the prize, Lightfoot will need to provide solid evidence that it’s got a three-year-old crime wave under control, which it has yet to do.
I’m told finance tycoon Michael Sacks will be active in fundraising. Likewise, there will likely be Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf and Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz, who operate the United Center, which hosted the 1996 convention and would likely be the convention favorite this time around.
Insiders aren’t saying how much the organizing committee will need to raise — typically it’s tens of millions of dollars that go towards parties, dinners and other perks for delegates and visitors — but the offer itself will cost more than $500. ‘one million dollars.
Lightfoot, in the statement, chose to emphasize the positive. “Hosting the 2024 Democratic National Convention in Chicago will create tremendous opportunities for job creation and business growth,” she said.
“The convention would inject over $150 million into our economy, making it a win not just for Chicago but for our entire state,” Pritzker said. “I am proud to invite the nation to explore the land of Lincoln and Obama.”
Don’t be surprised if former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama play major roles in the official nomination.
The convention is expected to take place in August 2024. If it follows the usual pattern, it will last four days, with the presidential candidate being selected on the third day, normally a Wednesday.
If President Joe Biden is running for another term, the rally could be routine. If he retires, the event could be wide open.
Competitors for the convention include Atlanta, Houston and Las Vegas. Republicans narrowed their slate to two cities, Milwaukee and Nashville. Having the two meetings in towns just 90 miles apart would be nice and save a ton of money, but that might just make too much sense for politics.