President Biden and his party have selected Chicago to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention, according to the Democratic National Committee, elevating a large liberal city in the heart of the Midwest, a critical battleground region.
The convention will be held Aug. 19-22 of next year at the United Center, the committee announced. Republicans plan to hold their 2024 national convention on July 15-18 in Milwaukee, just north of Chicago, underscoring the fierce competition for the Midwest.
In the final deliberations, Chicago beat out New York — another progressive city whose advocates had boasted of its infrastructure and fund-raising resources — as well as Atlanta, in a presidential battleground state. Houston was eliminated earlier in the process.
If Mr. Biden becomes his party’s 2024 standard-bearer, as many Democrats expect, the Chicago gathering will be his first traditionally splashy nominating convention. The 2020 event, scheduled for Milwaukee, became an almost entirely virtual affair, after the coronavirus outbreak forced the cancellation of major in-person appearances.
Chicago’s boosters argued that it was a bastion of Democratic Party values — a liberal place that embraces abortion rights, L.G.B.T.Q. rights, and labor and civil rights — and that Illinois reflected the diversity of the nation. The state’s governor, J.B. Pritzker, a longtime Democratic donor, also made clear that the city had the financial resources, experience and infrastructure to run a smooth large-scale event. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Mr. Pritzker was “among those making upfront guarantees” that “the party would lose no money if Chicago snagged the convention.”
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In an interview last year, he also noted the city’s location in the politically competitive Midwest.
“We are surrounded by swing states here,” he said. “We have a very good relationship with Wisconsin, Michigan and all of the surrounding states that are important for the re-election of the president.”
Leaders from those states, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, endorsed the city’s bid. And when Mr. Biden traveled to Wisconsin earlier this year, an ad in The Wisconsin State Journal read, “There is no path to the White House without the Midwest.”
“President Biden, let’s defend the blue wall. Choose Chicago,” read the ad, paid for by the Chicago Federation of Labor. “P.S. How about 81 degrees and a cool lakefront breeze?”
Opponents of Chicago noted that neither the city nor the state were politically competitive in presidential years, with some arguing that Democrats who supported the city were missing an opportunity to elevate a true presidential battleground in Georgia.
Atlanta was generally seen as Chicago’s closest competitor, and it had the support of some of Mr. Biden’s close allies across the South, including former Senator Doug Jones of Alabama and Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina. And Georgia is a meaningful place for Mr. Biden: It helped deliver him the presidency and played a crucial role in securing Democratic control of the Senate.
The issue of Georgia’s facilities, though, became a source of criticism. A number of union leaders who supported Chicago or New York argued that, given the importance of labor to the Democratic Party, its convention should not be held in a state that has often been hostile to labor, in a city with very few unionized hotels.
Some Democrats also questioned whether they should hold their convention in a state helmed by a prominent Republican governor, Brian Kemp, where abortion rights are strictly limited and gun access is not.
While Mr. Pritzker, who could one day seek the presidency himself, is perhaps the dominant political figure in Illinois, Chicago’s leadership is in flux, after the current mayor, Lori Lightfoot, lost her re-election bid amid voter concerns about crime. She had been prominently involved in the city’s bid.