Chicago a front-runner for 2024 Democratic convention; Whoopi Goldberg boosting New York’s bid in video

Chicago has everything New York says it can offer the 2024 Democratic convention except the Statue of Liberty and garbage on downtown streets.

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Whoopi Goldberg narrates new video touting New York’s 2024 Democratic convention bid.

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WASHINGTON — With Chicago and Atlanta the front-runners for the 2024 Democratic National Convention — and my bet is on Chicago — New York is trying to stay in the mix with a new booster video narrated by Whoopi Goldberg.

“Come to New York, where we will put on a seamless and spectacular convention,” Goldberg says in the video, which surfaced on Monday. It runs 7 minutes and 11 seconds.

President Joe Biden, expected to run for a second term in 2024, will make the decision on the convention city.

It’s not clear who exactly the long video is supposed to influence.

A Democratic National Committee technical advisory group evaluated the bids. Biden will get a recommendation from folks scrutinizing the bids who are not likely to be swayed by the New York infomercial, which doesn’t tell them anything they did not already know.

The video does lay out parts of the New York bid.

Point for point, Chicago has everything New York says it can offer the Democrats and more, except the Statue of Liberty and garbage waiting to be collected sitting out on downtown streets.

Chicago backers have been slamming Atlanta for being in anti-union, right-to-work Georgia, and having only two union hotels. New York followed with copy-cat jabs at Atlanta.

Perhaps New York believes it can revive its fading chances if Atlanta is knocked out because of objections from labor.

New York last hosted Democrats in 1992, when Bill Clinton was nominated for his first term. Chicago last hosted Democrats in 1996, when Clinton was nominated for his second term.

I reported on Feb. 9 that billionaire Gov. J.B. Pritzker was among those making upfront guarantees to the Democratic National Committee that the party would lose no money if Chicago snagged the convention.

New York is offering venues in midtown Manhattan — Madison Square Garden and the Javits Center. The Garden has 97 suites.

Chicago is putting up the United Center and the McCormick Place complex a few miles from the Loop. The United Center has 164 suites.

Goldberg touted the Javits Center, with 3 million square feet and a new 54,000-square-foot event space.

Chicago is offering the entire McCormick complex, which combined is, as Chicago boosters put it, the “largest and most flexible convention center in North America.”

There is 2.6 million square feet of exhibition space, with a lot more in the indoor and outdoor footprint. Pedestrian walkways link the McCormick complex to three hotels with some 3,000 hotel rooms. The Arie Crown Theater has 4,188 seats, and the state-of-the-art Wintrust Arena has 10,000 seats.

“You can even get some honey from the bees who call the roof of the Javits Center home,” Goldberg said, a reference to its roof garden.

Hotels are a big deal in a convention. The DNC told bidders it needs 15,000 hotel rooms.

Goldberg does address what has been New York’s Achilles heel: that its hotels are expensive. There are, Goldberg said, 4,000 rooms for convention-goers under $300.

“We have over 13,000 hotel rooms, media studios, iconic event spaces and world-renowned culture and entertainment, all within a 10- to 15-minute car or shuttle ride or 20-minute walk,” said Goldberg.

Chicago told the DNC it has 43,462 rooms and suites in its inventory, with hotels in the Loop, River North, Streeterville, West Loop, Gold Coast, McCormick Place, Chinatown and Hyde Park.

There is even a potential hit on Chicago in the video, though it’s subtle. Goldberg mentions the great “leadership” and “stability” offered by New York Mayor Eric Adams and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. That may be a reference to the fact that the DNC will be dealing with a new mayor in Chicago.

After Mayor Lori Lightfoot lost the first round of voting on Feb. 28, the Chicago convention bid team pulled together a joint letter from mayoral rivals Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson pledging support for the convention.

Goldberg also touted that “every major news network” is within walking distance of the convention site,” convenient, she argued, for Democratic surrogates to “navigate” between the convention and news hits.

All the major networks construct elaborate facilities in convention halls — from skyboxes converted to TV sets to alternative spaces for guests to do hits.

“And you know getting to New York is easy,” Goldberg said. Same for Chicago. Both cities are hubs for trains, planes and buses.

She pointed to Newark, JFK and LaGuardia, airports 30 minutes to an hour from Midtown Manhattan. O’Hare and Midway can meet that and up the ante — easy CTA service from Chicago’s two airports to downtown.

The Javits Center has bees. I’ll give them that.

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