National convention

Houston to bid to host 2024 Democratic National Convention with Texas in national spotlight

Houston is in the running to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention to be held the summer before the next presidential election, in which Texas could be a much-wanted battleground state.

The city is competing with Chicago, Atlanta and several other major cities to host the internationally televised presidential nominating extravaganza a week before voters head to the polls in 2024. The city council approved the application on Wednesday.

Officials are betting Houston’s track record as a seasoned host of Super Bowls, oil conventions and, this weekend, the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting will help lure the DNC to the town of Bayou. Another bonus? Its position as a Democratic stronghold in one of the largest conservative states in the country.

Texas’ rapidly changing electorate – and its role at the center of national debates on gun control, abortion rights and immigration – may make it an ideal place to energize voters within the state and across the country, said Joshua Blank, research director of Texas Politics. Project at the University of Texas at Austin.

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“The fact that Houston is even a possible convention destination shows just how competitive Texas has become in the eyes of Democrats,” Blank said.

For those hoping to turn the Lone Star State blue, he said, hosting the convention and the ensuing media spectacle would provide a valuable chance to reach undecided voters and shine a spotlight on politicians. promising premises.

“Choosing where to host the convention is 100% a strategic decision,” Blank said. “The parties seek to find a media market, and preferably a state, where sustained coverage of speeches, celebrities and politics will get outsized coverage in the city and state where it is taking place.”

If selected, the convention — a mix of ceremonial speeches, glitz and pomp — is expected to attract more than 50,000 party delegates, a potential boon for hotels and restaurants still struggling to recover from the pandemic downturn. The festivities could raise about $200 million, said Houston First CEO Michael Heckman, with potential benefits for everyone from Uber drivers to restaurant and hotel owners.

“There’s a multiplier effect that ripples through the economy,” Heckman said Tuesday.

Under the city’s proposal, the bulk of the activity would take place at the Toyota Center and the George R. Brown Convention Center, with major funding coming from the DNC and local donors. Organizers would be required to prove how they plan to cover fire, police, traffic and security costs, officials said. In addition, about 3,000 U.S. Department of Homeland Security agents would be dispatched throughout the city to counter potential bomb threats or biological attacks in the weeks leading up to the event, according to DHS officials.

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Despite claims on the campaign trail that he would be commander-in-chief for one term, President Biden said he and Vice President Kamala Harris intended to seek a second term. It’s unclear if the race will be a rematch against former President Donald J. Trump or if someone else will be on the Republican ticket. Political prognosticators are predicting that former Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis could soon throw their hats into the ring.

Houston last hosted a party convention in 1992, when Republicans gathered at the Astrodome to nominate Texas oilman and incumbent President George HW Bush in his failed re-election bid against then-Governor Bill Clinton. ‘Arkansas.

The city is not being considered to host the 2024 Republican National Convention, city officials said, because the dates “conflicted with other events” at the convention venue.

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