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Houston finalizing bid to host 2024 Democratic National Convention

The DNC would bring some 50,000 visitors to H-Town with a total economic impact of $230 million, Mayor Sylvester Turner said.

HOUSTON — Houston leaders are polishing up a bid to host the next Democratic National Convention. Friday is the deadline to submit the bids.

They predict the event in August of 2024 could bring more than 50,000 visitors to the city.

“We’ve assessed a direct economic impact of $130 million,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said Monday. “The total economic impact would be close to $230 million.”

Houston narrowly lost its bid for the 2020 DNC to Milwaukee.

“We were the runner-up I guess you could say the last time,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said Monday. “This time, you know, we wanna be at the altar and getting married.”

The city would commit services like fire, police, and traffic control. Venues like the George R. Brown Convention Center and NRG Stadium would be used.

The mayor expects hotels to fill up and businesses regionwide to benefit.

Dietrich von Biedenfeld, a business law professor at the University of Houston-Downtown, says economic impact projections for national political conventions are usually too high.

“It’s just not the same energy and same expenditure as a sports event,” said von Biedenfeld. “World Series, World Cup, Super Bowl, you’re gonna see a stadium filled with 70,000 people, executives, team owners, and then just your average citizen and sports lover, all alike, whereas these events are mostly populated by journalists, pundits, political candidates and office-holders.”

However, von Biedenfeld says conventions’ economic impacts to host cities still end up in the millions.

“A lot of that economic impact comes from tax dollars,” he said. “So, the convention and visitor’s bureau will have to pay for extra security, but those security guards who live in Houston – police officers, sheriff’s deputies, and so forth – will then reinvest that into new purchases of homes or going out to eat with their spouses when they get done.”

Mayor Turner says Houston has regained 92 percent of the conventions delayed or postponed because of COVID, including the NRA convention, scheduled over Memorial Day weekend.

City officials say hosting a Super Bowl or national political convention requires a show of support from the host city.

On Wednesday, City Council is scheduled to vote to signal their support for providing city services to host the 2024 DNC.

“If at first you don’t succeed, try again. On a convention of this kind, it’s just kind of hard not to be in the game and compete for it," Turner said.

The Democratic National Committee will start site visits in the summer and choose the host city in late 2022 or early 2023.

Mayor Turner says the city also plans to bid for the Republican National Convention in 2028.

The last time Houston hosted a national political convention was the RNC in 1992. It was held at the Astrodome.

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