U.S. President Joe Biden picked Chicago to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention, tapping a large liberal city in the heart of the Midwest to hold what could be his nominating party, officials said on Tuesday.
Chicago beat out New York, another progressive city, as well as Atlanta, a city in the presidential battleground state of Georgia that helped Biden win the White House and gain control of the Senate. Houston was eliminated earlier in the process.
“Chicago is a great choice to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention,” Biden said in a statement distributed by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Tuesday. “Democrats will gather to showcase our historic progress including building an economy from the middle out and bottom up, not from the top down.”
Chicago’s supporters made the case that it was diverse, liberal city that celebrated labor and civil rights. They also argued that it was located in the critical Midwestern part of the country that Democrats need to win if they want to retain the White House, including the competitive states of Michigan and Wisconsin.
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, a billionaire Democratic donor, also made clear that his state’s largest city had the financial resources and experience to run a smooth, large-scale event. The city has hosted several Democratic conventions, including the tumultuous and violent 1968 gathering during the Vietnam War.
The decision took Democrats in the South by surprise after they marshaled tens of millions of dollars in support for the bid and felt that there was some momentum behind it, especially after Biden endorsed putting South Carolina and Georgia before Iowa in the party’s nominating calendar.
“There’ll be some initial heartbreak, which I’m experiencing right now,” said Dominick Perkins, a top Democratic strategist in Georgia. “But people are still going to continue to do the work we’ve always done and we’ll continue to get the wins. This state is trending blue.”
The convention, where delegates will formally select a final Democratic nominee to run in the November 2024 presidential election, will run from Aug. 19-22 next year, the DNC said.
While he has not officially declared his candidacy, Biden has said he intends to run for re-election and is yet to face a serious threat for the nomination despite concerns about the 80-year-old president’s age.