Democratic National Convention pushed back to August

The Democratic National Convention has been...

Posted: Apr 2, 2020 12:19 PM
Updated: Apr 4, 2020 10:30 AM

The Democratic National Convention has been pushed back to the week of August 17 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the committee tasked with planning the event announced on Thursday.

The change represents a dramatic shift for the party, which has worked for months to host a convention in Milwaukee in mid-July. While officials began planning for contingencies in the face of the spreading coronavirus, many had remained hopeful that the virus would abate and allow Democrats to host the supremely important event.

Representatives for former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaigns were consulted on the decision to move the Democratic National Convention from July to August, two Democratic officials tell CNN. Biden currently holds a significant lead over Sanders in the nomination fight and is the party's frontrunner.

Democrats had initially picked the mid-July date as a way to hold their convention before the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. But when the Olympics were delayed by a year due to the coronavirus, the three weeks spanning July and August were open for what Democrats hope will be a major media moment.

Politics in the United States has been forced to make wholesale changes due to the spread of the coronavirus, including multiple states postponing primaries and a virtual halt of all in-person campaigning.

The Democratic convention will now happen the week immediately before the Republican convention in Charlotte.

'In our current climate of uncertainty, we believe the smartest approach is to take additional time to monitor how this situation unfolds so we can best position our party for a safe and successful convention,' Joe Solmonese, CEO of the convention, said Thursday. 'During this critical time, when the scope and scale of the pandemic and its impact remain unknown, we will continue to monitor the situation and follow the advice of health care professionals and emergency responders.'

Top Democrats began actively considering a range of contingency plans for the party's convention last month, including changing the date, shortening the in-person portion of the gathering or going entirely digital.

Those efforts sped up in recent days as former Vice President Joe Biden, who is leading in the delegate count, began to publicly call for changes to the convention planning, including saying on Wednesday that he thinks the convention will 'have to move into August.'

'I doubt whether the Democratic Convention is going to be able to be held in mid-July or early July. I think it's going to have to move into August,' the former vice president told Jimmy Fallon on 'The Tonight Show' Wednesday night. 'We just have to be prepared for the alternative and the alternative, we don't know what it's going to be unless we have a better sense of whether this curve is going to move down or up.'

The change does create a series of problems for the planning committee, which has already locked in the convention venue and needed hotels for the influx of visitors.

Convention planners said on Thursday that the venue, the Fiserv Forum, and hotel accommodations in area are all still available in August.

Pressure was mounting on organizers as similar summer events, like the Olympics, began to be postponed or canceled. There was also an acknowledgment that conventions are not nimble organizations and any significant changes would take at least four weeks for organizers to fully implement.

The delay in the convention also puts off any consideration of changing the convention rules to allow delegates to cast their votes remotely. Current convention rules dictate that delegates have to appear in person to nominate a candidate, so a rule change would be needed in order to allow votes to be cast digitally.

Biden and Sanders' campaigns were notified of the plan to move the convention date on Thursday morning, a Democratic official tells CNN.

'The convention team has been contingency planning in light of the developing health crisis for the past couple of weeks. We notified both campaigns this morning of our decision to move,' the official said.

The same official tells CNN that both Biden and Sanders' campaigns supported the decision to move the convention.

'They agreed it was the best decision in light of the health crisis facing the country,' the official said.

One key issue in moving the convention was the venue -- the Fiserv Forum, the new home of the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks. Alex Lasry, senior vice president for the Bucks and chair of the Milwaukee's bid for the convention, tells CNN that the arena is available for the week.

'This is the right decision for the safety of those involved in the convention and for Milwaukee,' Lasry said. 'An August convention will provide a much-needed economic boost for Milwaukee and Wisconsin as we come out of this unprecedented time.'

Members of the party's powerful Rules & Bylaws Committee had begun to look at possible contingency plans, but had not actively begun talking about rules changes.

'Are we talking about rule changes right now? No, we are not. Will be two months from now? Maybe,' Maria Cardona, a longtime Democratic operative and member of the committee, told CNN last week. 'Are we looking for possible contingency plans about what something like that will look like? Yes, there are people looking at what that would entail.'

Republicans, too, have been under pressure to consider changes to their convention, but benefited from the fact that they had initially picked late August for their meeting.

'The RNC is working closely with state parties, ensuring that they have the resources needed to get their presidential nomination processes done, and offering incredible flexibility in these circumstances,' Mandi Merritt, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, said on Thursday. 'We are fully committed to holding the Republican convention in Charlotte as planned and re-nominating President Trump.'

This story has been updated with additional information.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 895229

Reported Deaths: 9462
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1749772017
Ramsey722701040
Dakota66032572
Anoka62513568
Washington39357355
Stearns32821275
St. Louis28761399
Wright25354211
Scott25329181
Olmsted21750127
Sherburne18478126
Carver1629166
Clay11923103
Blue Earth1126366
Rice11234138
Crow Wing11003122
Chisago974676
Kandiyohi9660106
Otter Tail9611126
Benton8815124
Beltrami801794
Goodhue786596
Douglas7689100
Itasca752796
Mower721349
Winona702756
McLeod694483
Isanti681383
Steele669431
Morrison663479
Becker620873
Polk591684
Freeborn550846
Carlton529474
Nobles521654
Lyon518761
Mille Lacs516573
Nicollet510960
Pine500641
Cass491252
Todd483642
Brown465057
Le Sueur445933
Meeker422357
Martin378143
Wabasha366010
Waseca365132
Dodge351511
Hubbard349848
Roseau307931
Fillmore299115
Wadena298239
Redwood277845
Houston266817
Renville264151
Faribault253032
Pennington247529
Sibley246917
Kanabec241536
Cottonwood225032
Chippewa216342
Aitkin215850
Pope203210
Watonwan194920
Yellow Medicine185423
Rock174728
Swift169322
Koochiching168123
Stevens164511
Jackson159216
Clearwater155720
Marshall151122
Murray150911
Pipestone148329
Lake129824
Lac qui Parle120025
Wilkin119416
Mahnomen104714
Norman10389
Grant9719
Big Stone9365
Lincoln8705
Kittson71523
Red Lake70710
Traverse5996
Unassigned572124
Lake of the Woods5235
Cook3020

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 520452

Reported Deaths: 7289
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk80319799
Linn32142424
Scott26637292
Black Hawk21974378
Woodbury20490258
Johnson19778105
Dubuque18515241
Pottawattamie15890213
Dallas15320113
Story1380258
Warren8450104
Cerro Gordo7964123
Clinton7725114
Webster7326122
Des Moines7098105
Marshall669093
Muscatine6645117
Wapello6441144
Jasper619591
Sioux610177
Lee5908105
Marion557897
Buena Vista502149
Plymouth488388
Henry418655
Benton404859
Jones404862
Unassigned40470
Bremer395372
Washington391463
Boone389739
Carroll367755
Mahaska365365
Crawford353747
Dickinson314655
Jackson307747
Buchanan305741
Clay295536
Delaware294654
Kossuth289077
Fayette286353
Hardin284353
Tama279777
Page272533
Wright266149
Cedar265527
Hamilton259857
Winneshiek258143
Floyd255449
Clayton244459
Poweshiek237243
Madison234525
Harrison234379
Cass233466
Butler232744
Iowa229634
Jefferson223043
Mills220930
Winnebago215938
Hancock214639
Cherokee211347
Lyon206142
Appanoose205357
Allamakee203955
Calhoun196919
Shelby196442
Union191141
Humboldt185130
Grundy183637
Franklin183029
Mitchell182043
Chickasaw178922
Emmet178246
Louisa176953
Sac171026
Guthrie168137
Montgomery161745
Clarke160829
Keokuk150839
Palo Alto150532
Howard146824
Monroe142739
Ida130141
Greene127517
Davis124625
Lucas124426
Monona122939
Worth12139
Pocahontas120724
Adair114337
Osceola104818
Decatur101913
Taylor98514
Fremont95913
Van Buren93222
Wayne84525
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