Big Democratic convention preview in Chicago this week, VP Kamala Harris to talk to top donors

On Tuesday, state Democratic Party chairs get briefings on the 2024 convention and check out the hotels assigned to their delegations. Top donors are in the city Wednesday-Friday and will hear from the vice president.

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Branding for the Democratic National Convention is displayed on the scoreboard at the United Center.

Branding for the Democratic National Convention is displayed on the scoreboard at the United Center on April 11. Chicago will be the host city for the convention in 2024, which will be held at the United Center.

Scott Olson, Getty

Vice President Kamala Harris, mega-donors and state Democratic Party chairs from across the nation hit Chicago this week to preview next year’s Democratic National Convention.

Democrats are bringing two major events to Chicago as the Democratic National Convention Committee and the Chicago Host committee are stepping up organizing and fundraising for the convention, slated for mid-August 2024.

The evening events and the official convention business of nominating the Democratic presidential candidate will take place at the United Center, which hosted the 1996 Democratic convention. The daytime programs will be at the McCormick Place complex.

Democratic state party chairs briefings and tours Sept. 12

On Tuesday, the party’s Convention Committee is hosting an event for the state and territory Democratic Party chairs and their executive directors. Democratic convention planners have already assigned hotels to each delegation.

For veterans of other conventions, where hotels were miles and hours from the top venues, every delegation in Chicago will stay in a hotel within 5 miles of all convention events.

A Democratic National Committee official said in an e-mail that the proximity of the hotels is “a notable and significant change from conventions past and part of the reason why Chicago was chosen to host the convention.”

Party leaders will be visiting, and in many cases, staying at their hotels to figure out space needs for their delegation meetings, see the United Center and McCormick Place campus, learn about potential places to book for parties, meet vendors and get briefed by the top convention executives.

One goal on Tuesday will be to drum up convention business for minority businesses, with an emphasis on food providers. In the evening, there will be a “Taste of Chicago” themed reception at Navy Pier to feature, a DNC official said, “catering from local minority-owned restaurants from the West and South Sides. The convention team has been intentional about incorporating different neighborhoods into its programming.”

Among the speakers expected during Tuesday’s events: DNCC chair Minyon Moore, DNCC executive director Alex Hornbrook, DNC secretary Jason Rae and officials from the United Center and McCormick Place.

VP Harris highlights mega donor retreat Sept. 13-15

Between Wednesday and Friday, top Democratic fundraisers and donors will be in Chicago for the 2023 Biden Victory Fund Fall National Finance Committee retreat.

Harris will be addressing the retreat on Wednesday, her fourth visit this summer. During her previous trips, she addressed national organizations that were meeting in Chicago.

The Biden Victory Fund is a joint fundraising committee of the DNC, the Biden for President committee and every state party.

Rufus Gifford, Biden-Harris 2024 finance chair, and Chris Korge, the Biden Victory Fund finance chair, will preside over the gathering featuring panels with VIP speakers, including California Gov. Gavin Newsom; Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware; DNC Chair Jaime Harrison; Biden’s campaign manager, Julie Chávez Rodríguez, and Biden’s top White House adviser on campaign strategy, Anita Dunn.

According to a memo obtained by the Sun-Times, under federal rules, the Biden Victory Fund can accept donations up to $929,600 from an individual. To be invited to the retreat, a person must have hit specific benchmarks of donating or raising campaign cash: contributing or raising from others $46,000 to the Biden for President Committee, or $146,000 to the Biden Victory Fund.

Emphasis on local vendors

As part of DNC Chair Jaime Harrison’s promise that all 77 Chicago neighborhoods will have a stake in the convention, the host committee is placing a heavy emphasis on getting local, minority-owned service sector and event space vendors to participate in the convention.

Choose Chicago, the city’s tourism marketing arm, in early September sent an email blast alerting members of the vendor interest form. The host committee is also doing outreach separate from Choose Chicago to ensure people from across the city are aware of opportunities. Outreach efforts are expected to ramp up once a permanent events director is hired.

The email included a link to a vendor interest form, and the host committee is also seeking event space vendors for the convention.

Tuesday’s Navy Pier event with local vendors is intended to get state party heads to interact with local businesses who can then do business with them at various convention events.

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