Milwaukee Picked to Host the 2020 Democratic National Convention

Midwest city beats out Houston and Miami Beach and could reap up to $200 million in benefits.


It's official: Milwaukee will host next year's Democratic National Convention, beating out two other finalists, Houston and Miami Beach. The convention, which is slated for July 13 through July 16, 2020, will be held at the city's new $524 million Milwaukee Bucks' arena, the Fiserv Forum, which opened in August 2018.

The convention is expected to draw 50,000 people and generate an estimated economic impact to the city of up to $200 million, which could extend beyond the city's downtown district as far as Dane County.


DNC chairman Tom Perez said the party's selection of Milwaukee marked the first time in more than 100 years that Democrats will gather in a Midwest city other than Chicago to nominate their presidential candidate. "This choice is a statement of our values, and I'm thrilled Milwaukee will host the 2020 Democratic National Convention," Perez said in a statement. "The Democratic Party is the party of working people, and Milwaukee is a city of working people."

Snagging the DNC is a huge win for the city, particularly since it does not have anywhere near the amount of convention center space of its two larger rivals. The city has been pushing for an expansion of its Wisconsin Center since June 2018, after releasing a report from Tampa, Fla.-based Crossroads Consulting Services LLC and Kansas City, Mo.-based architectural firm Populous, which recommended the center's main exhibit space, ballroom and smaller meeting rooms, which now total 265,800 square feet, be expanded to anywhere from 422,800 to 437,800 square feet.

However, the expansion proposal  has been bogged down in funding concerns. Currently  the operators of the convention center are looking for ways other than a proposed restaurant-tax increase to finance the $250 million expansion. The Wisconsin Center District said it plans to issue a request seeking proposals from lenders nationwide on how to pay for the expansion.

In a statement, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett called his city "first class" and said "we are ready to showcase Milwaukee on one of the largest stages in the world."