MILWAUKEE - 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 Hillary Clinton.
DNC Chairman Tom Perez picked Milwaukee over Miami and Houston. It will be the first time in more than a century that Democrats will gather in a Midwest city other than Chicago to nominate their presidential candidate.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett tweeted that he was informed of the decision Monday morning.
This morning I received a call from DNC Chairman Tom Perez informing me that Milwaukee was selected to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention. Milwaukee is a first-class city and we are ready to showcase it on one of the largest stages in the world. #DNC2020 pic.twitter.com/8feZ3izmrY— Mayor Tom Barrett (@MayorOfMKE) March 11, 2019
"Milwaukee is a first-class city and we are ready to showcase it on one of the largest stages in the world," Barrett said.
Milwaukee also 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 convention will be hosted in large part at the Fiserv Forum, the home of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Republican Walker praises Milwaukee choice
Former Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says "who would have known" that his push to build a new arena in Milwaukee would be one of the key reasons Democrats chose to hold their national convention there.
Who would have known that part of our legacy (building Fiserv Forum without a tax increase) would lead to the DNC picking Milwaukee for their convention? pic.twitter.com/jcuOtuUNcP— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) March 11, 2019
"It's super for Milwaukee. It's super for the state. Their money is not red money, not blue money; it's green money," Walker told WTMJ-TV.
Walker was an enthusiastic backer of Democrats holding the convention in Wisconsin when he was governor. His defeat in November by Tony Evers has been cited as one of the signs that Democrats are on the rise in Wisconsin, a state President Donald Trump barely won.
Walker told The Associated Press on Monday that it is a "great thing for the city and the state" to host the Democratic National Convention, calling it a "perfect fit." Walker now lives in Milwaukee.
But Walker says hosting the convention may also motivate Wisconsin Republicans who otherwise might have been complacent about re-electing Trump.
Other Wisconsin leaders react
Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin tweeted a video Monday expressing her appreciation that Milwaukee would hold the DNC.
"It is so wonderful to know that we will nominate the next president of the United States right in Wisconsin," Baldwin said.
GOP Sen. Ron Johnson tweeted that he was glad the state would enjoy the "economic boost" from the convention but also felt it would highlight the differences between policies.
I’m glad #Milwaukee will enjoy the economic boost from hosting #DNC2020. As voters in a key battleground state, WI will get a first-hand look at Democrats’ extreme policies that would reverse the economic progress made under the Trump administration. (1/2) https://t.co/U4XBVtOQw4— Ron Johnson (@RonJohnsonWI) March 11, 2019
"As voters in a key battleground state, WI will get a first-hand look at Democrats' extreme policies that would reverse the economic progress made under the Trump administration," Johnson said.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan joked during a news conference that the Democratic presidential nominee will have to come to Wisconsin in 2020. The 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton did not campaign in the Badger State ahead of the 2016 election.
"It's significant they looked at Wisconsin and they're looking at the upper midwest as pivotal to the 2020 elections," Pocan said.
The Democratic National Committee picked Milwaukee over Miami and Houston.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez calls the decision a "missed opportunity for our nation" that Miami wasn't picked.
The convention is expected to attract more than 50,000 visitors in July 2020.
Watch the news conference below
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