Skip to content Skip to navigation

Milwaukee To Host 2020 Democratic National Convention

Updated 11:30a

(AP/WPR)---Democrats have chosen Milwaukee to host their 2020 national convention.

The Democratic National Committee's decision will take the party to the heart of the working-class upper Midwest that delivered President Donald Trump to the White House.

Before 2016, Republicans hadn't won Wisconsin since 1984. Trump added Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania to upset Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who did not campaign in Wisconsin in 2016 during the general election.

DNC Chairman Tom Perez picked Milwaukee over Miami and Houston. It will be the first time in more than a century that Democrats gather in a Midwest city other than Chicago to nominate their presidential candidate.

Milwaukee will be one the smallest cities to host a presidential convention, topping two other finalist cities that have hosted national political conventions and Super Bowls.

The announcement was made Monday morning, moments after Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett delivered the annual State of the City address at the Fiserv Forum in downtown Milwaukee, where the convention will be held from July 13-16, 2020.

Barrett was cautious about answering questions from media, saying he would hold a press conference later in the day.

"My view is this is a city that fights back," Barrett said. "I think hosting the first ever political convention for a city of this size is monumental."

The city has met countless times with DNC officials, Barrett said.

"I think the audition has been going on for the last year," Barrett said. "This is a part of the country that is important (for the election). We’ve established we can do this."

Barrett co-chairs the Milwaukee DNC 2020 Host Committee along with U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, Governor Tony Evers, Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes, US. Congresswoman Gwen Moore, and Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele.

In a press release from the DNC, Evers said hosting gives Milwaukee and Wisconsin a chance to be on the world stage. 

The convention is expected to draw 50,000 visitors and have an economic impact of $200 million to $300 million throughout the state. Downtown Milwaukee has approximately 5,500 hotel rooms. The metropolitan area has 17,884 rooms, according to STR Inc., a Tennessee-based hotel marketing data firm. 

"The DNC Convention presents a tremendous opportunity to build on Milwaukee’s rich history of diversity, inclusion, and innovation,” Barnes said in a written statement. “Our local entrepreneurs and strong neighborhoods are among Milwaukee’s greatest strengths, and a successful convention that includes these diverse partners will help communities throughout southeast Wisconsin thrive.”

According to the DNC, preparations have already begun between the city, Milwaukee County and the state with the entities working with federal agencies to ensure the safety and security of all who attend the convention. Milwaukee’s corporate community, nonprofits, and small businesses will all be involved; and thousands of volunteers will be needed to help ensure the convention runs smoothly, according to the press rlease.

“Milwaukee will be ready to host a tremendous experience for all of our visitors and residents,” Abele said in a written statement. “We will feature Milwaukee as a place that respects and values all people, a core belief of the Democratic Party – it’s an event I’ll be thrilled for us to host.”

Republicans will meet in Charlotte, North Carolina on Aug. 24 to 27, 2020.

Editor's note: This story will be updated.