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Buzz grows around Milwaukee as DNC 2020 decision nears

Posted at 4:07 PM, Feb 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-18 18:17:15-05

Milwaukee should learn by the end of the month if it will host the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

Mahlon Mitchell, a former candidate for governor and Democratic Party Delegate at Large, said DNC meetings took place last Wednesday through Saturday in which the site of the 2020 convention was among the most talked about topics.

The three finalists to host the convention are Milwaukee, Miami Beach, and Houston.

"We've just heard that we would hear something by the end of the month, more than likely," Mitchell said.

He said he's hopeful the Brew City will land the convention.

"We're making a strong push," Mitchell said.

Officials behind Milwaukee's 2020 DNC bid estimate the economic impact of the convention at approximately $200 million.

They expect the event would attract somewhere in the range of 50,000 visitors to Milwaukee.

In a recent NBC News article, reporter Jonathan Allen writes some within the DNC are concerned with Milwaukee's ability to host the convention.

"The tension point is a view among some DNC members that Milwaukee might not be equipped to handle the needs of delegates in terms of hotel rooms in close proximity to the center of the convention action and easy transportation," Allen said.

Tim Smith, the Managing Director and General Manager of the Pfister Hotel, said he thinks Milwaukee stacks up pretty well against Miami and Houston when it comes to hotels - at least "pound for pound."

"Obviously, Milwaukee is not going to stack up against those two cities in terms of hotels in a close proximity to the venue," Smith said.

"But in Milwaukee, there's not going to be a lot of traffic time - even if you're 15 miles from the venue," Smith added. "In some of these other cities, you could be five or six miles away from the venue and it's going to take you double the time to get there."

According to VISIT Milwaukee, the metro area boasts about 17,5000 hotel rooms.

A recent report from NBC Chicago indicates some convention goers could stay in that city's Northern Suburbs. Illinois' governor recently came out in support of Milwaukee's DNC bid.

Smith thinks the exposure and excitement of a major political convention would be a great opportunity for Milwaukee.

"For us, as a city, to have the world's focus on Milwaukee for four or five days, you can't buy that type of exposure," he said.