News

Denver withdraws bid to host 2020 Democratic National Convention

Author: Erin Prater - June 20, 2018 - Updated: June 21, 2018

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Barack Obama joined nearly 80,000 people who packed into Invesco Field at Mile High to hear Obama accept the Democratic Nomination for president during the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Denver on Aug. 28, 2008. (The Gazette, Bryan Oller)

Denver has withdrawn its bid to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention due to a scheduling conflict.

The preferred convention dates released Friday by the Democratic National Committee — July 13-16 — “are just not feasible,” Amber Miller, director of communications for Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, told Colorado Politics Wednesday, adding that the city had submitted its bid with “feasible dates for Denver” on Thursday with the “understanding there could be some flexibility.”

Visit Denver, the city’s convention booking agency, reportedly has booked several large events for that period, including a pair of corporate events. The agency worked with committees and conventions booked that weekend to see if they could be rescheduled, “and it just wasn’t feasible for some of the major commitments for that weekend,” Miller said.

The city had been hoping for August dates; the 2008 party convention that nominated Barack Obama was held Aug. 25-28. But the mid-July dates allow the Democratic nominee “maximum exposure heading into the fall,” according to Friday’s DNC press release.

“The Democratic Party is committed to organizing everywhere, and holding the convention in mid-July allows us to continue our work doing exactly that,” DNC Chair Tom Perez said in that release.

The convention had narrowed its list of candidate cities to Denver, Houston, Miami Beach and Milwaukee, Politico reported earlier Wednesday morning, though Miller said she wasn’t aware that Denver had made a short list.

The city informed the DNC it would be withdrawing its bid earlier this week, she added.

The initial list of cities under consideration also included Atlanta; New York; San Francisco; and Birmingham, Alabama.

All eight cities had sent requests for proposals on hosting the four-day convention. That’s after a larger number of cities were contacted earlier to assess their interest, NBC reported.

In 2008, most of the Democratic Party gathering was held at the Pepsi Center, but Obama — then an Illinois senator — moved his acceptance speech outdoors to the Denver Broncos stadium.

Back then, Denver seemed like an unlikely choice to host the Democratic convention, both because it hadn’t hosted one in a century, and because Colorado had voted for a Republican for president in nine of the previous 10 elections.

But Denver got generally high marks for hosting the gathering 10 years ago, and Colorado has gone for Democrats the last three straight elections.

Denver was on a short list of cities considered as sites for the 2016 Republican National Convention, but Cleveland won out.

Denver also hosted the Democratic convention in 1908, at the then-new Municipal Auditorium (now the home of the Ellie Caulkins Opera House). The convention nominated William Jennings Bryan for president; he lost in the fall to William Howard Taft.

Colorado Politics Managing Editor Mark Harden contributed to this report.

Erin Prater

Erin Prater

Erin Prater is Colorado Politics' digital editor. She is a multimedia journalist with 15 years of experience writing, editing and designing for newspapers, magazines, websites and publishing houses. Her previous positions include military reporter at The Gazette, general assignment reporter at The Huerfano County (Colo.) World, copy editor at David C. Cook publishing house and adjunct mass communication instructor at Pueblo Community College. Her bylines include The New York Times Upfront, The Argus Leader (Sioux Falls, S.D.), Military Spouse magazine and Omaha Magazine (Omaha, Neb.). Her syndicated bylines include The Denver Post, MSNBC.com, Military.com and wire services.