By Danielle Wallace
Published August 23, 2019
Nearly half of the delegations scheduled to attend the 2020 Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee next July will stay in hotels across the state line in Illinois -- stretching as far as the Chicago area, officials said.
But if Democratic leaders in Wisconsin were upset about a neighboring state getting all that business, most weren't showing it.
"People eat, drink, celebrate and build the economy not when they’re asleep, but when they’re awake," Ben Wikler, chairman of the Democratic party of Wisconsin, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "And DNC delegates will spend every possible waking moment in Wisconsin."
Madison, the Wisconsin capital, is about 10 miles closer to Milwaukee than Chicago is, but no state delegations will be staying there, according to the paper. The city's mayor was unfazed.
"Though we’re not on the list to host any state delegations, we’ve actually got a lot of interest in room blocks for other folks," Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway told the Journal Sentinel. "You know, we’re just looking forward to helping Milwaukee make this convention as much of a success as possible."
"Though we’re not on the list to host any state delegations, we’ve actually got a lot of interest in room blocks for other folks."
Republicans, however, were quick to jab at Democrats over the accommodations for the convention.
"Dems can't even go all in on Wisconsin!" tweeted Pat Garrett, a former spokesman for the Republican Party of Wisconsin.
"Democrats continue to look at states like Wisconsin and say, 'It’s a nice place to visit, I just don’t want to stay there'," Charles Nichols, a spokesman for the Wisconsin state GOP, told the Journal Sentinel.
"Democrats continue to look at states like Wisconsin and say, 'It’s a nice place to visit, I just don’t want to stay there'."
The Democratic National Committee revealed delegation hotel assignments during its summer meeting in San Francisco on Thursday. Local newspapers received the list of hotel assignments from their state’s Democratic Party.
Next year's convention, where the party will nominate its sole presidential candidate to take on President Trump in the general election, will be held in Milwaukee’s Fiserv Forum arena from July 13-16.
A total of 57 delegations are scheduled to attend the convention. Twenty-six of them will stay in clusters of hotels in Illinois’ Rosemont village, which is located directly next to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in Cook County, and in the neighboring Lake County, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Milwaukee and Chicago sit approximately 92.1 miles apart along the shores of Lake Michigan. It takes about 90 minutes to travel between the two cities.
DNC Convention CEO Joe Solmonese explained why many delegates will sleep in the Land of Obama rather than closer to the convention site.
“Illinois has large hotels which lets us house delegations under one roof,” he told the Sun-Times.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, welcomed the business the DNC convention will bring to his state’s economy. In fact, his spokeswoman sounded almost as if the convention would take place in Chicago.
“Pritzker fought to bring the convention to the Midwest in part because it’s great for Illinois businesses. Illinois will proudly welcome guests to the 2020 Democratic convention as we play a major role in showcasing the vitality and importance of the Midwest to the nation,” the spokeswoman, Emily Bittner, told the Chicago Sun Times.
“The thousands of visitors staying in Illinois or traveling here will provide a boost to our economy, and people from all over the United States will get to enjoy the world-class hospitality of our state,” she said.
“The thousands of visitors staying in Illinois or traveling here will provide a boost to our economy, and people from all over the United States will get to enjoy the world-class hospitality of our state.”
DNC Chair Tom Perez told the Journal Sentinel that local organizers secured 17,000 hotel rooms for the convention in both Wisconsin and Illinois.
About 50,000 people, which include delegation members as well as media, donors, activists and volunteers, need lodging in order to attend.
Five thousand hotel rooms in Illinois were booked for delegation members. The large California delegation will stay in hotels in Rosemont, Ill., directly adjacent to Chicago. Members of the swing state of Pennsylvania’s delegation will stay further north, closer to the Wisconsin border, in Illinois’ Lake County.
Rosemont hotels will also host delegations from Alabama, American Samoa, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.
Lake County hotels will accommodate Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina, Northern Marianas, Pennsylvania and Utah, the Sun-Times reported.
The remaining 31 delegations will stay in the Milwaukee area, both within the city and in neighboring suburbs, according to a list obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. About 11,000 hotel rooms were booked in Wisconsin for these delegates.
Arizona, Democrats Abroad, Washington, D.C.; Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina and South Dakota delegations will stay in Milwaukee airport hotels.
The Illinois delegation, which will require at least 200 rooms, will not stay within its home state, but instead in Waukesha, Wis., a Milwaukee suburb, the Journal Sentinel reported.
The Michigan delegation will also stay in Waukesha, located southwest of Milwaukee.
Indiana, Maine, Montana, Oregon and West Virginia delegations will stay in another suburb, Wauwatosa.