Don’t pick Atlanta for DNC 2024, Midwest political leaders tell Biden

Georgia is an ‘anti-labor, pro-gun, anti-choice, vote-suppressing state,’ a group of powerful Democratic Midwest political leaders tell President Joe Biden.
It's Atlanta vs. Chicago for the 2024 Democratic National Convention.
Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 1:17 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 23, 2023 at 4:30 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Chicago is making an renewed effort to secure the 2024 Democratic National Convention in a competition that includes Atlanta and possibly New York City.

On Wednesday, a group of Midwest political leaders - including four governors, six U.S. senators and 14 congressional representatives - sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to pick the Windy City as the site of next year’s convention.

“The Midwest is a traditional Democratic stronghold, part of the storied ‘blue wall’ that has been key to Democratic presidential victories for decades,” the letter said. “When the future of the country hangs in the balance, we cannot afford to overlook the Midwest.”

The letter said Biden and Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison should not hold its convention “in a state whose policies fundamentally oppose Democratic principles,” an apparent jab at Georgia, where every statewide constitutional office is held by a Republican.

That includes Gov. Brian Kemp, who just cruised to a re-election victory over Stacey Abrams, once considered a rising star in Democratic national politics.

“The Midwest has been a bastion of strong labor unions for generations, an oasis for reproductive choice, and a stronghold of civil rights protections,” the letter said. “Convening in an anti-labor, pro-gun, anti-choice, vote-suppressing state would be akin to talking the talk without walking the walk. Bringing the convention to the Midwest means reinforcing the party’s commitment not only to the nation’s industrial heartland, but also to those voters who have repeatedly propelled Democrats to victory.”

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and city financial officials were given the green light earlier this week to negotiate contracts with the Democratic National Committee should the party choose Atlanta to host its 2024 convention.

On Monday, the Atlanta City Council approved a resolution sponsored by council member Marci Collier Overstreet that would fast-track the city’s ability to collect excess hotel and motel tax revenues and conduct any other negotiations and arrangements should the city be chosen.

Read the Choose Atlanta 2024 Agreement here.

Last summer, Dickens and U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams hosted top DNC officials after Dickens announced the city would submit a formal bid to host the nominating convention.

Earlier this month, several Atlanta civil rights leaders also penned a letter to Biden, advocating Atlanta as the convention site.

“As you make final preparations for your reelection campaign, we write to urge you to make one decision that will be immeasurably beneficial to the nearly 42 million Black Americans who you represent as president of the United States of America: Bring your nominating convention to the city of Atlanta, Georgia in 2024,” the March 3, 2023, letter said.

“By choosing Atlanta you can ensure that the millions spent on your nominating contest flow to Black businesses and you can send a message that when given the opportunity you and your party will literally put your money where your mouth is.”

The letter was followed by a March 4, 2023, op-ed in The Atlanta Journal Constitution, in which the outlet’s new published urged Biden to choose Atlanta. In late January, more than 60 Democratic mayors, state lawmakers, governors, congressmen and senators also sent a letter to Biden, urging him to select Atlanta.

“Democratic turnout in the state of Georgia is the single greatest reason that you and Vice President Harris are in the White House today instead of Donald Trump,” the officials wrote in the January letter, which was also sent to Harrison.

The last - and only - time Atlanta has hosted a political convention was 1988, when Democrats nominated former Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis to face Vice President George H.W. Bush. Dukakis had just won a hotly contested nomination battle over Jesse Jackson, while Bush was seeking to take advantage of then-President Ronald Reagan’s vast national popularity.

Bush trounced Dukakis that November, carrying 40 states and winning 426 electoral votes. That was also the last election a presidential candidate won more than 400 electoral votes.

The 1988 Democratic convention was held at the Omni, now the site of State Farm Arena. Gov. Joe Frank Harris led Georgia’s delegation, which included former President Jimmy Carter and then-U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn.

On July 20, then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton formally nominated Dukakis. Clinton would win his party’s White House nomination four years later and eventually unseat President Bush, becoming the first Democrat to occupy the White House since Carter.

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