Democrats Delay Nominating Convention Until Week of Aug. 17
WASHINGTON – The Democratic National Committee announced Thursday that it will delay its presidential nominating convention until the week of Aug. 17, citing the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and how long it will last.
“In our current climate of uncertainty, we believe the smartest approach is to take additional time to monitor how this situation unfolds so we can best position our party for a safe and successful convention,” said Joe Solmonese CEO of the Democratic National Convention Committee, in a written statement.
“I have always believed that American innovation and ingenuity shine brightest during our darkest days, and for that reason, I’m confident our convention planning team and our partners will find a way to deliver a convention in Milwaukee this summer that places our Democratic nominee on the path to victory in November,” he said.
In an appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” Wednesday night, former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive nominee, said he doubted the convention would be able to be held as scheduled July 13-16 in Milwaukee.
“I think it’s going to have to move into August,” Biden said.
The bottom line, Biden said, is that “we should listen to the scientists” and that the 2020 election, from conventions to voting methods, “may have to be different.”
Democrats originally scheduled their convention ahead of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. But the international games have been postponed until 2021, opening several weeks on the summer television calendar if they could logistically manage a delay.
Tradition dictates that Democrats, as the party out of power, hold their convention first.
Republicans plan to gather Aug. 24-27 in Charlotte, North Carolina, and party officials have said they are confident that by then the country will have begun putting the coronavirus pandemic behind it.
Neither Democratic nor Republican leaders want to sacrifice the boost that can result from an enthusiastic convention gathering — particularly the prime time coverage of their respective candidate’s nomination acceptance speech.
This year’s convention could be even more critical for Biden, who has recently only been able to do remote television interviews from his Delaware home due to the coronavirus, unable to draw the kind of spotlight that a presidential candidate needs to be successful.
But DNC Chairman Tom Perez said Thursday that “leadership means being able to adapt.”
Of the change in convention timing, Perez said, “The city of Milwaukee has been an incredible partner, especially over the past few weeks as we’ve confronted this global crisis, and we couldn’t be more committed to highlighting Wisconsin as a key battleground state.”
As part of their contingency planning efforts, the Democratic National Convention Committee has confirmed that Fiserv Forum, the Wisconsin Center District and hotel accommodations in the surrounding area are available in August.
The DNC said its convention planning team will now use the coming weeks to further explore all options to ensure the nominating process is carried without unnecessary risk to public health. These options include everything from adjusting the convention’s format to crowd size and potentially moving some events.
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