HOUSTON — Houston could be days away from finding out whether it will host the Democratic National Convention in 2020.
The Bayou City is competing against Milwaukee and Miami Beach for the event that July, which is expected to draw tens of thousands of visitors during a normally slow time for tourism.
After rallies, support from Houston sports stars, a tour of the town for DNC members and even a letter of support from late former President George H.W. Bush, Houston is now in the final stretch to land the 2020 convention.
“This city would be an outstanding, terrific, fantastic choice,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner on Wednesday afternoon.
Mayor Turner said Houston’s bid is drawing support from around the country.
“Mayor (Eric) Garcetti for example, mayor of L.A., has indicated he is putting in a supportive call to the chair of the DNC, and we have Denver doing the same thing,” said Mayor Turner. “(Also the) mayor of Flint, Michigan (and the) mayor of New Orleans voicing her support.”
The George R. Brown Convention Center and Toyota Center are part of the bid, and those venues and the surrounding hotels are no stranger to hosting big events like the Super Bowl and Final Four.
Houston’s successful hosting track record is one of its main selling points to the DNC. Still, it’s not a done deal.
“We feel Miami is the place to be,” said Mayor Francis Suarez of Miami during an October news conference, as reported by the CBS affiliate in Miami.
Miami Beach also has the venues, hotel rooms, and experience hosting major events. Also, Florida is a longtime political swing state.
Politico recently called Milwaukee the “odds-on favorite” to win the bid, citing Democrats’ need to win the state in 2020 and the DNC chair’s personal connections to the city. Others have noted city also has milder weather in the summertime and does not experience hurricanes like Houston and Miami.
Also, with the ongoing battle between the City of Houston and firefighters over pay, the AP reports Democrats are concerned over risking “negative media coverage that could harm a presidential nominee who will be heavily dependent on public- and private-sector organized labor.”
“I’m not concerned,” said Mayor Turner. “When we were at the DNC executive committee meeting in August, when hundreds of them met, the only picketers, people who were picketing the hotel,they came from Milwaukee.”
DNC Chair Tom Perez is expected to make his decision by the end of February.