MILWAUKEE - With the stroke of a pen and a beer toast, Democratic leaders made it official: Milwaukee will host the 2020 Democratic National Convention.
Officials gathered at the Fiserv Forum, the home of the Milwaukee Bucks, to explain the choice of the city, which is the first in the Midwest to host since 1996.
"Conventions like this are fierce, there's competition from the East Coast, competition from the West Coast, competition from the Gulf Coast, and I am here today to welcome all of America to America's fresh coast, because that is where this convention is going to be held," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
Barrett, as well as Gov. Tony Evers and DNC Chair Tom Perez, made clear that the reason for the pick was Wisconsin's history as a working-class state.
"Where you hold a convention is a very strong statement of your values," Perez said during a Milwaukee news conference. "It's a very strong statement of who we are as a party and who and what we're fighting for."
"Milwaukee and Wisconsin are ready to roar," Barrett said. "We are ready to host this convention, and we're ready to make sure that all of America knows how much we care about the working people in our community."
Milwaukee beat Houston and Miami to host the convention, and Perez told the crowd and reporters gathered that the city was chosen because it was ready, and because he believes it will help Democrats win in 2020. Already, some have cast doubt that the region has enough hotel rooms and resources to effectively host the tens of thousands expected from around the world.
"Our threshold question was did the city have the resources to carry out the mission and we believe that every city had the resources. They would do it differently, but they can do it equally effectively," Perez said. "At the end of the day I am firmly of the belief that this city can and will carry it out very well."
Barrett said efforts will now be underway to recruit some 12,000 volunteers to help with the convention. Perez noted that while Wisconsin was already able to raise some $11 million as a host city, much more will be needed to effectively fund the convention.
Perez and Barrett both pointed to the success of Evers in the 2018 midterm election as a reason that Wisconsin is seen as a location with Democratic momentum.
Evers told the crowd gathered that while he was not a generally superstitious person, he wouldn't wear a "Milwaukee 2020" T-shirt on Sunday, saying he wanted to wait until the choice was official.
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